Servings: Serves at least 15, plus leftovers
Preheat oven to 500°. Rinse turkey; remove and set aside giblets. If cooking stuffing inside turkey, loosely pack the turkey cavity with stuffing, then tie legs together to enclose the vent. Coat bird all over with butter (or brush it with oil), then sprinkle well with salt and pepper.
Put turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan. Add 1/2 cup water to bottom of pan along with turkey neck, gizzard, any other giblets, onion, carrot, celery, and parsley. Put in oven, legs first if possible.
Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the top begins to brown, then turn heat down to 350°. Continue to roast, checking and basting with pan juices every 30 minutes or so; if the top threatens to brown too much, lay a piece of aluminum foil directly onto it. (If the bottom dries out, add water, about 1/2 cup at a time; keep at least a little liquid at the bottom of the pan at all times.) Turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh measures 155° to 165°. If, when the turkey is nearly done, the top is not browned enough, turn heat back up to 425° for the last 20 to 30 minutes of cooking.
Remove turkey from oven. Take bird off rack and make gravy while bird rests; let it sit for about 20 minutes before carving. Serve on a platter garnished with sliced figs and mostarda di frutta and with gravy on the side.
From the November 2008 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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