♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -Today on "Cook's Country," we're taking a trip to the Motor City.
Bryan and Julia make the best bottom round roast beef with zip-style sauce, Adam reveals his top pick for measuring spoons, and Christie makes Bridget a regional favorite -- almond boneless chicken.
That's all right here on "Cook's Country."
-Today, we're talking about zip sauce, a well-loved butter-based sauce from the city of Detroit.
-It was first served in 1939 at a little Italian restaurant called Lelli's Inn, owned by cousins Nerio and Mario.
-Mario then took the sauce recipe with him when he opened his second restaurant, called Mario's, and his recipe for filet mignon with zip sauce quickly became famous.
-In fact, the popularity and demand of zip sauce forced many other fine restaurants in the area, like Andiamo's and Rochester Chop House to come up with their own version.
-Now, every chef has their own recipe for zip sauce, and today we're gonna hear what Bryan has to say on the subject.
He's gonna serve it alongside a beautiful roast beef.
Today, Bryan's not just cooking any cut of beef -- he's cooking the leanest, meanest cut of beef on the block.
That's the bottom round roast.
And I happen to have a bit of family history with this roast.
-Oh, that's not a good thing.
-[ Laughs ] Never is, right?
Growing up, I used to eat this two to three times a week.
-And my parents would cook it blood rare.
And as a child, I despised this cut.
-And so when it crept back into my life here in the test kitchen, I was doubtful that I would ever find love for this thing.
But I'm happy to report we've fixed a lot of those problems and I actually find myself craving it, oddly enough.
-So, the first step is salting the roast overnight.
Now, salting's gonna change the structure of the proteins and also, obviously, season the roast.
-So, I like to season on a sheet of plastic wrap 'cause I will be wrapping it in plastic before I put it in the refrigerator.
So we'll start off.
We have 2 teaspoons of kosher salt here, and you want to get it all over the roast.
So, we'll just wrap this up with our plastic wrap.
Now we'll put it onto our plate and we'll refrigerate it for at least an hour.
But if you can go a full 24 hours, that's even better.
-Our roast has been salting for several hours, and we're ready to move on to our herb crust now.
-So, we're not searing this roast in a skillet or anything before we go into the oven.
So the herb crust is really gonna help us get a nice exterior look.
-So, we're gonna chop up 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme.
Measure that out.
And we have about a tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary.
Okay, so that's about a tablespoon of rosemary.
And to our herb mixture, we're going to add 2 teaspoons of black pepper and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.
Okay, so we'll just give this a quick mix.
Okay, and we're just trying to combine that.
And now for the roast.
In order to get the crust to stick to the roast, we're gonna brush it with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
The roast is incredibly lean, so a little bit of fat on top really helps.
We want to pat it dry with some paper towels just to make sure any of the moisture that's come out from the salting process doesn't interfere with our crust.
And now we'll brush it with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
This not only helps the crust stick, but it also helps with the browning in the oven, 'cause we're gonna be cooking at such a low oven temperature.
Now we can season the roast.
You want to get even coverage all the way around.
Okay, now we can put our roast on this wire rack that we set inside of a rimmed baking sheet, and we're going to insert a temperature probe into the thickest part of the roast.
So, that tends to be right there in the middle.
The reason for this is because we want to monitor the temperature of the roast without opening the oven.
We're gonna cook at a very low temperature -- 250 degrees for about two hours, until this roast hits 120 degrees internally.
And then without opening the oven door, we're going to shut the oven off and let the roast coast on up to 135 degrees, which will be about a medium doneness.
Cooking it all the way to medium really benefits the flavor and the texture.
Alright, Julia, the temperature is now 135 degrees.
-That is a pretty bottom round roast.
-It's really transformed, hasn't it?
So we're gonna remove this thermal probe and we can bring our roast out of the oven.
Okay, now we're just gonna transfer our roast to a carving board.
And it needs to rest for a good 30 minutes, so we're gonna tent it loosely with foil and just let that rest for a while.
-It's been about 30 minutes, and our roast is nearly done resting.
And while that's finishing up, we can make our zip-style sauce.
-I've been waiting for this.
-You know, I love this sauce because it comes together so easily.
We have one stick of butter here.
-[ Laughs ] Like all good sauces, start with a stick of butter.
-And we've got it over medium heat.
And to that, we're going to add 1/2 cup of Worcestershire sauce.
You have to love Worcestershire to love this sauce.
-You are not messing around!
-Or you have to love butter.
Either -- Either one.
-I love both, so I'm ready.
-Two minced garlic cloves go into the pot and 2 teaspoons of finely minced rosemary, 1 teaspoon of minced fresh thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
And we're just gonna whisk this all together.
We want to bring the sauce to a bare simmer.
Once the butter is fully melted, the sauce is done.
So we can just set that aside while we carve our roast beef.
-This cut of meat here has been resting for about 30 minutes.
-I just want to point out how beautiful this roast looks.
-You know, it's an ugly cut of meat to eat if it's done wrong, but now it's absolutely gorgeous.
-So, one of the keys to really enjoying this cut of beef is to slice it paper-thin.
-Oh, Bryan, that looks good.
You're not kidding when you said slice it thin.
-Spend a little bit of extra time carving the meat and making sure it's done right, and it'll eat so much better.
It's important to note that we cut this entire roast against the grain.
That makes it even more tender.
So, we will go to the platter with all our beautiful slices of meat here.
We'll add a little bit of sauce over top of our platter.
-Alright, let me give you a few slices of meat here.
-Yeah, right from the middle, please.
-Okay, and a little bit of zip sauce for you.
-[ Laughs ] The sauce does smell good.
-This really makes it.
-It's surprisingly fantastic, right?
The meat is actually tender.
-It's not shoe leather.
And the sauce!
When you put all that Worcestershire in there, I was certain it was gonna taste really harsh around the edges.
But, no, it's soft and round, probably thanks to all that butter.
-Yeah, the butter helps a lot to take away that sharp edge of the Worcestershire sauce.
Those fresh herbs, the garlic... -Mm-hmm.
-It really changes the entire profile of that sauce.
-This really is a transformation of the cheapest cut of meat.
You can imagine yourself craving this on a Sunday afternoon.
-I get where the craving comes in, 'cause that sauce has a nice, unique flavor with the fresh herbs.
It's really the rosemary and the Worcestershire.
That's a lovely combination.
This is magnificent.
Thank you, Bryan.
-So, if you want to make this incredible roast beef from a bottom round, season the meat with salt and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
Before cooking, rub the meat with a mixture of fresh herbs, salt, and pepper, and insert a probe thermometer.
Roast the beef in a low oven, then turn the oven off and let the roast finish cooking in the off oven.
Last but not least, make a quick Detroit-style zip sauce while the meat rests.
From "Cook's Country," a great recipe for bottom round roast beef with zip-style sauce.
So, what'd your dad say when you made this for him?
-Uh, he said it was overcooked.
[ Both laugh ] -"A pinch of this and a smidge of that" can only get you so far in the kitchen.
You're gonna need a good set of measuring spoons for accuracy.
So Adam's here and he's gonna tell us which set of measuring spoons is best.
-Bridget, we have used this set for years in the test kitchen.
But there are some new competitors to it.
so we decided to retest.
We have this lineup of seven different sets of measuring spoons.
The prices ranged from a low of $5 to a high of about $17.
They all had the most essential sizes -- a tablespoon, a teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon, and 1/8 teaspoon.
The designs varied a little bit.
You can see that the bowls on some of them were different shapes.
-This guy here actually looks sort of like a barbell.
It's got a center handle with spoons at either end, and it connects with a magnet, like that.
-This one is adjustable so that you can change the quantity that it's gonna hold.
Now, accuracy is job number one.
-So we tested that by measuring water and flour and weighing it out on a high-precision scale to the hundredth of a gram.
-And we found that in the smaller spoons, they were pretty accurate.
If there were any inaccuracies, they were just a fraction of a gram, not that big a deal.
However, some of them, in the larger spoons, had somewhat more significant inaccuracies.
For instance, the teaspoon measure there held about 35% less water than it should have on average.
On these two sets here, the 1 tablespoon measures tended to run a little large.
They held 32% and 41% more flour, respectively, than they should have.
-Can you imagine that with something like baking powder?
-You know, that could really affect a recipe.
-It's not a huge amount, but these are measuring spoons.
-Don't you expect them to be accurate?
-They have one job!
-They have one job to do.
Now, testers measured different sorts of ingredients with these.
And those included dried basil, table salt, ground turmeric, dried red pepper flakes, brown sugar, and peanut butter, and those revealed different usability issues.
You can see here that there are two plastic sets.
Plastic tends to accumulate static electricity.
And so some of those ground spices, like the turmeric, didn't release quite as cleanly as they did from the metal spoons.
They left a little film there.
-When it comes to measuring dry ingredients, Bridget, what is the most accurate way?
-Dip and sweep.
-Would you demonstrate that for us?
-So, you take a measuring spoon, place said measuring spoon and scoop, and then sweep across just like that.
-And that's why you want to have a nice, smooth transition from the handle to the bowl.
These two on the end, both had handle designs that made that sweeping action a little bumpier, a little more complicated.
-Now, you can see that you have different shapes and sizes of the bowls, and some of these in the larger ones, like this, for instance -- this would not fit into a standard spice jar.
The standard spice jars have a 1 1/2-inch opening.
-[ Chuckles ] That's like a small shovel.
-[ Laughing ] This is not going anywhere.
You could pour it out and measure it, but that's an extra step.
Or you could go in three times with the 1 teaspoon measure -- also extra steps.
-Testers also checked the durability of these things, both by cleaning them...
They cleaned them 20 times -- the first time by hand, the other 19 times in the dishwasher.
And only one of them had the markings rub off during those cleanings.
That was this one here.
Another durability test was to use the spoons in all the sets to scoop up brown sugar out of a container.
There were only three sets where some of the spoons didn't bend at all -- this metal set and the two plastic sets.
So in the end, this was the set that we liked the best, and it's our old winner, also.
This is the Cuisipro stainless steel five-piece measuring spoons.
It's about $12.
They were accurate.
They have a nice, smooth transition from the handle to the bowl.
They didn't bend with the brown sugar.
Our only gripe is that this is one of the sets where the 1 tablespoon measure wouldn't fit into a spice jar.
But, you know, that's a minor inconvenience.
Otherwise, they're pretty great.
-It's an easy work-around.
-Alright, well, still the winner -- It's the Cuisipro stainless steel five-piece measuring spoons, and it retails for about $12.
♪♪ I love finding a really regional dish -- I mean, hyper-regional -- like almond boneless chicken.
Now, it's a Chinese-American dish that you might find in a few restaurants across the Midwest.
I used to eat it in Columbus, Ohio, but it's really popular in Detroit, Michigan.
And Christie's here.
She's gonna tell us all about this great dish and why you should be making it at home.
-Almond boneless chicken, or ABC... -It's easy to remember.
-...as it's called -- it's got two defining characteristics.
First, it has a batter that's unique.
It's not as craggy as fried chicken.
-But it's also not as light and crisp as tempura.
-It's also distinctive in the way it's served.
So, it's served over shredded or sliced iceberg lettuce.
But it's not a salad.
No, it is.
It's totally a salad.
-[ Laughing ] -You and I are gonna fight on that one.
-And then the sauce is kind of a chicken broth- and soy-based sauce.
It's very mild.
-And the dish is scattered with sliced almonds.
So that's what we're making today.
-And we're gonna start with that sauce.
-So, I'm starting out with a cup of chicken broth.
I'm also adding 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of dry sherry.
-It smells like warm.
-[ Laughs ] And two teaspoons of hoisin.
Also, 1/8 teaspoon of salt... -Okay.
-...just to balance it.
So, I'm gonna bring this to a boil and I'm just gonna whisk this together.
Small saucepan -- there's not a lot of sauce here.
The sauce is an important part of the dish, but it's not going to blanket the dish.
-While that's heating up, we're gonna make our slurry.
So I have a tablespoon of cornstarch and a tablespoon of cold water.
We'll just mix this together.
As I said, it's a lightly thickened sauce.
So what we're going for is a sauce that clings, but isn't really glazy or gloppy.
-So that's all whisked together.
We are boiling.
So now we'll add the slurry and whisk that in.
We really just need to let this come back up to a boil and let it cook until it's thickened slightly, which is just gonna take about 30 seconds.
So, I'm just gonna turn off the heat.
-And we'll cover this, set it aside.
We'll keep it warm and stir it occasionally.
-But now we can get to the meat of the matter.
I have four 6- to 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I've already trimmed.
And you'll notice that I've already cut two in half.
We decided that if you're gonna put this batter on the chicken, we needed to have a good ratio of coating to meat.
-I like it.
-And if you keep your chicken really good and cold, makes it a lot easier to cut them in half.
So I'm just gonna keep my knife parallel to the board and very carefully cut through these.
-You make it look so easy.
-[ Laughs ] Now I'll pat them dry and I'll salt and pepper these on both sides.
And this is an important step that you don't want to miss.
The chicken has to be seasoned before we put the batter on.
Bridget, you can't have almond boneless chicken without almonds.
-That is literally true.
-So I have 1/4 cup of sliced almonds that I toasted earlier in a dry skillet and chopped them up nice and fine.
-A cup of all-purpose flour and a cup of cornstarch.
So equal ratio, flour and cornstarch.
So this is a teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.
And then some things to flavor.
So I have a teaspoon of garlic powder, teaspoon of salt, and 3/4 teaspoon of pepper.
-I love that you're continuing the seasoning.
-Every component's gonna get seasoned.
And we'll whisk this all together.
Now we need a liquid to actually create a batter.
-And we ended up going with one of our favorite standbys for batters, and that's beer.
-It's a good standby for everything.
-[ Laughs ] So, I have 1 1/4 cups of a lighter-flavored beer, so a pilsner or lager is great.
But you wouldn't want to use something like an IPA that's super hopped, because that would come through.
-And it can be very bitter.
-Right, or a stout.
-And if you don't want to use beer, that's okay.
You can use club soda or you can use plain seltzer, and you'll get the same bubble effect, just not quite as much flavor.
-And then I also have one large egg that I've beaten lightly, just to give the batter a little richness.
-So, we don't want to work it too much.
Just get everything mixed in.
That looks good.
Now we need something for that clingy sauce to cling to.
-So after we dip the chicken in the batter, we're gonna dredge it in a little seasoned flour.
-I like this.
-So, I have another cup of all-purpose flour here and I'm adding a teaspoon of salt -- again, season everything.
And that's just gonna give us a little more crunch.
[ Inhales deeply ] Now we're gonna get dirty.
[ Laughs ] So, one piece at a time, we'll dip our seasoned chicken in the batter, let most of the excess drip off.
Okay, so we'll do a little shimmy.
-It's a very easy way to keep your hands clean.
-Now, you'll notice I have a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Just gonna transfer this over there.
So, I'm just gonna keep dredging these.
Meanwhile, I've been heating my oil up.
So by the time I'm finished dredging, the oil should be ready to go.
Bridget, we are ready to fry.
-Music to my ears.
-[ Laughs ] Now, my oil's been heating up.
It's at 350 degrees.
It's about 2 quarts of oil, and you can use vegetable, or peanut would be great.
-The more important thing is that it's 1 1/2 inch deep.
-So if you have a slightly larger or slightly smaller Dutch oven, you can adjust.
350 -- we want it to stay at that temperature the whole time, so I'm only gonna fry four pieces at a time.
-Don't want to overcrowd it.
It would lower the oil temperature.
You'd get greasy chicken.
And we want to keep the temp between 325 and 350 the whole time.
Ooh, that's a good sound.
-[ Laughs ] -And I like what you're doing -- you're dropping it in away from you.
-Well, I've learned some lessons.
-That's a painful one.
-Sometimes the hard way.
[ Laughs ] Now, these aren't gonna take very long -- about four minutes total.
But I will go in halfway through, after two minutes, and flip them over.
With this recipe, the color is golden.
-Not super brown?
-So, not super brown, no.
Well, there's a lot of cornstarch in there, and the cornstarch is gonna keep it from getting very dark.
-And it will be fully cooked at four minutes.
These are very thin.
I'll just go in and stir it a little bit just to make sure they're not sticking together.
Okay, two minutes.
Two minutes down!
Just a little flip.
-Just a little flip.
I like to use the spider, but if you want to use tongs, that's fine, too.
Four of the longest minutes of your life.
-I have my rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack and three layers of paper towels to soak up any of that excess oil.
See, it's not super dark, just a nice golden color.
But you can see those craggy bits in the texture.
One batch down, one batch to go.
-But we need to let the oil come back up to 350 first.
And then we'll be ready to platter.
-Bridget, I told you this was not a salad.
-It's totally a salad!
-But we're gonna start with some iceberg lettuce right now.
[ Both laugh ] -So, I have a nice head of iceberg that I think is coming back into vogue.
-Ah, so maligned!
-I cut it in half and I'm gonna cut out the core, as you can see.
So I'm just gonna cut this crosswise into thin 1/4-inch slices.
So it's not totally shredded.
-But you're not gonna get a big leaf, either.
-A little fatter than, say, a coleslaw.
-That sound is so satisfying, isn't it?
-It's, like, crisp and juicy at the same time.
And we have a nice big platter.
This is really just a decorative bed.
And you need a big platter for this 'cause it's a pretty cool presentation.
-Family style, right?
Alright, so now we have all the chicken ready to go.
Looks so good.
I'm just gonna start cutting this into about 1/2-inch slices.
[ Coating crunches ] -Super crispy.
-Try to make a nice presentation here.
This is the last cutlet, Bridget.
Now we have the sauce.
-So, that's been waiting patiently for us for a while now, but it's nice and warm.
So I just want to get a nice little drizzle over each chicken breast.
-There's not a ton of sauce here either, so we're not overwhelming the chicken.
You still want to taste all those nice flavors.
Now I'll sprinkle with some scallions.
So, I've got three scallions that I sliced really thinly on the bias.
-That is beautiful.
-Okay, now the part that we cannot forget -- we've got some more almonds that we have to scatter on the top.
So this is another 1/4 cup of toasted sliced almonds.
that we'll sprinkle over everything to herald our almond boneless chicken, make sure everybody knows what it is.
-That's looking familiar now.
-[ Laughs ] -A lot better than I'm used to, but really familiar.
-So, I think we're ready.
-I hope so.
May I serve you some?
-I'm guessing you would like more chicken than iceberg.
-I'm gonna let you plate for me however you see fit.
Moment of truth.
This is great chicken, and you get these little touches of flavor that keep popping through, and the texture is amazing.
And that glaze, when you get it, [clicks tongue] it's great.
-Right, 'cause it's not a glaze.
It's a clingy sauce.
I just love the balance of textures.
You know, you've got that crisp, juicy iceberg and then the slight bit of crunch on the outside of the chicken, but it's super moist.
-I'm gonna hang out with you all the time.
-I think we should.
-The ABC club.
-[ Laughs ] -[ Clicks tongue ] -Absolutely boneless chicken.
-Absolutely boneless chicken!
You're gonna want to make it at home, too, and it starts with a little bit of prep.
Make a sauce and cook with cornstarch until thickened.
Then make a batter, dip seasoned chicken cutlets into the batter, and then dredge in more flour.
Fry the chicken in two batches, slice them.
and then serve over shredded iceberg lettuce.
Finish it all off with a little bit of that sauce, scallions, and more toasted almonds.
So, from "Cook's Country," the amazing almond boneless chicken.
-[ Chuckles ] -We're gonna need a bigger plate.