Here's a foolproof roast turkey recipe based on a classic French preparation. I'll use several techniques, such as stuffing an herb paste under the skin, to make the bird flavorful and juicy. Trust me, you won't experience the Thanksgiving tragedy of a dry turkey.
The night before, pat the turkey dry with paper towels and rub 2 tablespoons of kosher salt into the skin and inside the cavity. Place the turkey on a rack over a rimmed tray, and refrigerate uncovered overnight.Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting, to allow the turkey to come to room temperature.
Finely chop the parsley leaves. Pick off the rosemary and thyme leaves, add to the parsley, and chop together. Peel and smash 4 cloves of garlic, and coarsely chop. Add the garlic to the herbs and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Chop the herbs and garlic together into a coarse paste. Place the herb mixture in a small mixing bowl.
Drizzle the olive oil over the chopped herbs, and stir to combine.Pull the skin from the meat of the bird (a spoon can be helpful) and slide the paste under the skin, across the breasts and over the thighs.
Smear the softened butter over the outside and inside of the bird with your hands. Season the outside with a pinch of salt and pepper.Cut the onion in half, the celery and carrot into chunks, and stuff the vegetables inside the cavity.Remove excess paper from head of garlic and cut in half horizontally; place both halves in the bottom of the roasting pan. Cut the lemon into eighths and add to bottom of the roasting pan, along with the few extra branches of rosemary and thyme.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the prepared turkey on the cutting board, fold the wing tips under the bird, and truss it with butcher's twine. Return the turkey to the roasting pan, and add a cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Drizzle a few teaspoons of olive oil over the bird.Slide the turkey into the oven, and set a timer for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, remove the turkey from the oven and baste with juices over the breast. Return the turkey to the oven and bake at 450 degrees F for an additional 25 minutes.
After another 25 minutes at 450 degrees F, lower the temperature to 325 degrees F. After an additional 15 minutes at 325 degrees F, begin checking the internal temperature of the thigh with an instant-read thermometer.
Continue to baste the turkey and check the temperature periodically, until an internal temperature of 160 degrees F is reached.
Remove the turkey from the oven, and remove and discard the twine. Let the turkey rest for a minimum of 25 minutes before slicing and serving.
After the turkey has rested, transfer it to a serving platter and drizzle with the pan juices. Carve and serve.