3 min read


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Chris McDade is the Popina Chef-Owner spearheading a tinned-fish revival. Here, he shows his anchovy thyme rub — as simple as it gets for adding maximum flavor to your Thanksgiving bird

You’ll find it peppered across his menu — from his cult-status baked ricotta, spicy tomato, anchovies and bruschetta to mafaldine, caramelized onions, anchovy, grana padano. Across the board his message is compelling: Tinned fish tastes delicious and is an insanely good way to get protein into your diet in a sustainable way.

As we launch into Thanksgiving, Chris gives us the keys to his method for a flavor-first bird, with anchovies of course.


Anchovy-Thyme Rub Ingredients

10-12 anchovy filets (I opt for 12)
4-5 cloves of garlic, depending on the size
2 Lisbon Lemons (unwaxed)
Small handful of wild thyme flowers (regular thyme works in a pinch)
Senia olive oil

Turkey Ingredients

One Snowdance Turkey
A stick or so of butter
Salt and black pepper
Rosso di Milano onions cut to wedges

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Images with caption alt text

Method for the Rub

1. Run your knife through the anchovies a few times and place them in the bowl along with the oil from the tin.

2. Using your Microplane, grate the garlic cloves and zest the lemondirectly into the bowl.

3. Now, use your fingers to rub apart the thyme flowers. Take care to toss aside any hard stems

4. Add enough olive oil to give yourself a thick paste and set aside.

Method for spatchcocking

1. Place your turkey on a cutting board, dry with a kitchen towel, and place it breast side down.

2. Use your shears to cut along each side of the spine starting where the thigh meets the tail and working your way to the neck. The only tricky part is getting through the leg and hip bones, so look for the joints.

3. With the spine removed, flip your turkey over and press down on the breast bone to crack it flat, tuck the wing tips behind the breast, and trim any extra skin.

Method for Brining your Turkey

1. Use your fingers to loosen the skin away from the meat along the breast and thighs. Be gentle — holes are not our friends.

2. Lightly season the turkey with salt and pepper inside and out on all sides.

3. Cut your butter into pats and tuck them in the pockets you created when loosening the skin.

4. Using your hands, rub your anchovy-thyme rub inside those pockets you created and all over the skin.

5. Cure in your refrigerator overnight.

Method for cooking your turkey

1. Allow your turkey to rest outside of the cold for an hour or so to allow for more even cooking. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Place your onions in the roasting pan and top with the turkey, breast side up. Give it a gentle push to flatten out a bit.

3. Cook for 2 hours or until your breast meat registers 150 and the thighs come in at least 165. Rotate the pan a few times during cooking.

4. Once cooked, allow the turkey to rest for 30 minutes or so before carving. I like to pour the cooking juices over the bird at this point.

5. Take a step back and congratulate yourself on a damn fine turkey.


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