1 whole fresh turkey (whatever size you choose)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons coarse salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup minced herbs (I like to use a mixture of fresh sage, rosemary and thyme)

1 glass of white wine

1. Grab a pair of sharp kitchen shears and patiently snip down each side of the backbone (Save the backbone, and roast it separately for your gravy). A good sharp cleaver or large chef's knife may come in handy to get through the larger bones. Then cut deeply into the keel bone between the two breast halves. Using the palms of your hands, gently press down on the breast to flatten it out – you will probably hear some bones cracking.

2. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels (there is no need to rinse it). Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, breast side up. Let stand for 30 minutes to air dry. Smash together butter, salt, and herbs in a small bowl. Rub the turkey all over with the butter mixture. Cover the tray completely with plastic wrap and let sit – at least 30 minutes, at room temperature, but up to overnight if possible (refrigerated, of course).

3. Heat oven to 450°. Discard the plastic wrap. Place the turkey pan in the oven and add a cup of water to the pan (this keeps the juices from browning too much too quickly). Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°. Continue to cook, rotating sheet once or twice, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165°, about 10 minutes per pound, total (So, a 12-pound turkey should take around 2 ½ hours). Check on the turkey after an hour of cooking. I like to pour the glass of wine over the bird at this point, and then cover the breast with foil (then refill your glass to sip while you're waiting). Let stand for at least 20 minutes before carving.

Serves 10

Make-Ahead Gravy

Combine 4 tablespoons flour and 4 tablespoons softened butter into a paste in a medium bowl; set aside. Brown any turkey bones (wings, backs or necks) you may have in a large saucepan. Add 6 cups of turkey stock or reduced-sodium chicken stock to a boil. Simmer until reduced to 4 cups. Stir 1 cup stock into flour mixture, whisking constantly until smooth. Pour mixture back into saucepan, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage and season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.