♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -Today on "America's Test Kitchen," Keith makes Bridget the perfect Tuscan grilled pork ribs, Adam reveals his top pick for honing rods, Dan reveals the science behind oily mushrooms, and Lan makes Julia the ultimate sautéed mushrooms with red wine.
It's all coming up right here on "America's Test Kitchen."
♪♪ -Tuscan cooking is all about restraint and elegance.
Take, for example, rosticciana, which is grilled pork ribs.
Now, any flavors or seasonings are sparingly applied to the meat so that the flavor of the pork and fire comes through.
Now, Keith's here, and he's gonna show us how to make this elegant Tuscan dish at home.
-Yeah, so these ribs are unlike what most people think of barbecue ribs.
They're not fall-off-the-bone.
There's no smoke.
There's no spice rub.
There's no sticky-sweet glaze.
It's all about the pork.
They're cooked over a fairly high heat.
So they're gonna get nice and brown.
They're gonna get nice and roast-y, and they're gonna have this succulent flavor and a little bit of chew.
We're starting with St. Louis style spareribs.
These are coming from the rib of the pig, you know, down by the belly.
They're about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds each.
Unlike with American barbecue where you grill the whole rib really slowly, most of these recipes are grilling individual ribs.
So you get a lot more brown, and you have a lot more surface area, but you can imagine trying to juggle 20 ribs on a hot grill with a lot of fat, not fun.
-And you might lose a few of them.
-You're gonna lose a few.
You're gonna have flare-ups.
It's gonna be a mess.
So what we're gonna do is we're gonna do two rib portions here.
So we're gonna maximize the surface area, but we're gonna reduce those things that we're trying to tend on the grill by half.
-I like to flip it over so I can actually see the ribs.
-It's much easier to see.
I'm just gonna cut right in between them, very simple, and we're doing two ribs.
I'll do the same thing here.
Some ribs have 12 bones.
Some have 13.
If you get down to the end and you have three bones like I have here, just leave that as a three-bone segment.
So I'm just going to pat this dry really quickly with some paper towels.
There's usually no adornment with these ribs.
We're just gonna use salt and pepper.
We're gonna salt these ribs on both sides with 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt, and we're gonna let that stand for an hour to let that salt penetrate into those muscle fibers, help them retain some juiciness and also help to season it.
Okay, so our ribs have been sitting with that salt for about an hour, and we're about ready to grill, but rosticciana is usually part of a mixed grill.
You have ribs.
You have sausage.
You have white beans.
You have potatoes.
It's part of a meal.
-So what we're gonna do is we're gonna take some radicchio.
I have three 10-ounce heads of radicchio that we're gonna quarter, and we're gonna take those out to the grill with our ribs, and once the ribs are done on the grill, we're gonna grill these really quickly.
I really like radicchio on the grill because it is a little bitter, but on the grill, it caramelizes, takes away some of that bitter edge.
-It sure does.
-Okay, and to make sure that these caramelize and don't stick to the grill, we have 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil here that I'm just gonna brush over the top.
You want to get that oil down in between those leaves.
-Okay, I'm just gonna season these with salt and pepper, a little Kosher salt and a little bit of pepper.
Okay, so our radicchio is ready.
Now we just have one more thing to do with our ribs.
Again, we're gonna brush these with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
We're only gonna brush the top side of this, what I would call the meat side.
The bone side is curved.
So it's not gonna really make that much contact with the grill.
-So we don't need oil there because it won't stick, and 1 teaspoon of pepper that we're gonna sprinkle on the top, as well.
-Now we're ready to grill.
-You ready to cook some ribs?
-Okay, so our grill is ready to go.
I've had this preheated on high heat for 15 minutes.
It's gonna be nice and hot, but I just want to cut down our heat just a little bit, down to medium high.
We don't want to go too, too high here.
So before we put our ribs on, I just want to give this a quick scrape.
One more step, I'm just gonna take some vegetable oil and a towel.
I'm just gonna give this a quick rubdown with some oil.
So now for our ribs.
I'm gonna put these on meat side down first.
-Okay, so meat side down, bone side up, got it.
-We're gonna let these go for about 4 minutes, and they're gonna get some grill marks on it, just really light browning.
We don't want to get all the browning right now.
-We just want to kind of cook them through, you know, medium slow.
-Okay, so it's been about 4 minutes.
We're gonna give our ribs that first turn.
-Ah, there's a little color.
-Yeah, that's perfect.
We don't want a lot of color right now.
We just want a little bit of color because we're gonna get more color on this side on the third flip.
-So I'm just gonna give these a quick turn.
It's also good, at this point, if you have, you know, your cooler part of the grill in the front, you can always move things from front to back, left to right.
You kind of feel how your grill works.
So I'm just gonna take these that are probably getting a little bit more heat, just put them in front like this.
-The old switcheroony.
-So we're gonna go another 4 to 6 minutes on this side until they're starting to get browned on that bone side of the ribs.
-Okay, so it's been another 4 minutes, and that second side should be nicely browned.
-Yeah, and you can see that, because of the way the rib is shaped, it's not gonna get even browning over the whole thing, but you can see the edges have gotten nicely browned.
-So I'm just gonna give these one more flip, and this is our last flip, and we're gonna finish cooking on this side.
-So now it's meat side down again?
-Now it's meat side down again.
We're gonna cook that 4 to 6 minutes on that meat side, and it's gonna be nice and golden brown, and it's gonna be about 175, 185 degrees.
So it's been about 4 minutes and time to check our ribs.
-It smells amazing.
-Now, what we're looking for is we want some nice, deep, golden-brown coloring on that.
-Isn't that beautiful?
It's, like, the best roast pork you can imagine.
I just want to check the temperature of these.
Now, we're looking for about 175 to 180 degrees.
The collagen will have broken down a little bit, but they're still gonna have that nice, chewy texture that we're looking for.
-When I temp these, I can grab it with the tongs, and the nice thing about having these, a two-bone section, is that you can stick the thermometer in the meat in between those bones, so 182 degrees.
So I just put these on here.
Look at that.
Isn't that beautiful?
-Okay, so you can put that down.
-Now, we're gonna let that rest for about 10 minutes like that before we eat it.
-We're gonna use that 10 minutes wisely.
We still have a hot grill.
So we're gonna grill some radicchio.
So we're gonna put these on here.
If you have some leaves like that, you're better off just to leave them off.
Those are gonna burn really quickly.
That's gonna cook through pretty quickly, just about 5 minutes, and we're gonna turn it every 1 1/2 minutes, and we're gonna get those three sides, so the two cut sides and the round side of that radicchio.
-It's been about 5 minutes, and we can check our radicchio now.
-Oh, that's looking great.
So what we're looking for is we want the outsides of the radicchio to char, but we want the inside to kind of stay nice and pink and still have a little bit of crispness to it.
-Oh, wow, yeah, that little rosy color inside.
-Nice, little rosy color inside, but it's charred on the outside.
We're gonna go inside.
We're gonna make a nice sauce for these ribs, and then we'll be ready to eat.
Okay, the ribs have rested for 10 minutes.
We have a couple last-minute embellishments for our radicchio first.
I just have some balsamic vinegar here.
I'm gonna just give a little sprinkle to these.
-Mmm, that's all they need.
-Yeah, the acidic vinegar is gonna balance out the bitterness of that radicchio a little bit.
If you have a nice aged balsamic, nice and syrupy, that would be the time to break it out, for this.
-Now, for the ribs, we're gonna make a quick vinaigrette.
So we're starting with 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
I'm gonna add 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of minced rosemary, and I'm just gonna stir that in here, but that's gonna be kind of harsh right now.
So once we get this stirred in, I'm just gonna microwave this for 30 seconds, just to take the raw edge off that garlic.
Oh, that smells great.
-It sure does.
-So it's been 30 seconds.
-Oh, smells so good.
-Now I'm just gonna add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
Okay, so our vinaigrette's done, and now we can cut our ribs.
Again, I flip it over so I can see those bones and cut these in half in between that bone section.
-Oh, look at that.
You never see juicy ribs like that with regular barbecue ribs.
-A wedge of radicchio.
-I'm gonna drizzle these with our garlic vinaigrette.
-That is stunning.
The meat is beautifully cooked, nice and juicy.
Meat that's cooked right on the bone is so good, tender and meaty and porky.
-And so succulent.
-Mm-hmm, it really is.
Even though it's not falling off the rib, it's still really tender.
I mean, it's got a little bit of tug and chew, but it's not tough at all.
-There are only a handful of ingredients here, but it's all about the ribs.
It's all about that pork flavor.
Let's try the radicchio.
It gets that really nice, papery kind of leaves on it.
-But it still has a nice crispness in the inside.
I mean, radicchio can be very, very bitter, but grilling kind of is magic.
-Yeah, it mellows it out.
The balsamic gives it another edge.
Thank you, Keith.
If you'd like to make rosticciana at home, well, it starts with spareribs.
Cut St. Louis spareribs into two-rib portions, rub the ribs with salt and then let them rest for an hour.
In the meantime, you can oil and season quartered heads of radicchio.
Now, go outside and grill the ribs until deeply brown, and then grill the radicchio.
Drizzle the radicchio with balsamic and create a garlicky rosemary vinaigrette for those ribs.
So from "America's Test Kitchen" to your kitchen, Tuscan grilled pork ribs and grilled radicchio, A.K.A.
♪♪ -We've all seen chefs take their knives, hold them up in the air and scrape them against a sharpening steel before getting to work, but the question for Adam today is, "Does this really do anything?"
-Put that knife down, Julia.
You're scaring me with that thing.
Before we talk about whether it does anything, let's define a couple of terms because there's confusion about what sharpening is versus what honing is.
-What happens when you use a knife is that that very point where the two sides meet that's supposed to be the cutting edge, it will get damaged.
It'll get wavy.
It'll get bent over kind of like that.
That's called a burr, when it's J-shaped.
When you hone, you want to realign that burr, straighten it out.
You're not removing as much metal as when you're sharpening, but it's gonna make the knife feel a little bit sharper, and it's gonna extend the time period between actual sharpening and regrinding that cutting edge.
-And that's valuable.
-That is valuable.
So we wanted to find out about honing rods.
However, there's confusion there, too.
There's nomenclature differences.
We have nine different models in our lineup, but they were sold as honing rods, steels, and sharpening rods.
They're all meant to hone the blade.
The price range was $15 to about $50.
They come in different materials.
These two are ceramic.
-The other ones are steel.
They also come in different textures.
Some of them are fairly smooth, like that ceramic one.
-The steel ones can have ridges in them.
-Yep, I'm used to that one.
Some of the steel ones are even diamond-coated, like that one, and some of them have two textures instead of just one, like this one.
It's got a smooth side... -Oh, yeah.
-...and it's got a slightly ridged side.
-Now, just like you showed at the top of this segment, a lot of people, chefs, home cooks, hold the hone in one hand, hold the knife in the other.
-You have two moving parts.
The angle is not consistent.
We here like to do it a different way.
I'm gonna ask you to show me.
-I know this.
-You know what to do.
-Yep, you use a towel, and you put it flat on the counter, and then you put the tip of the rod right in the center of the towel.
So now you have just one moving part, and you can more accurately get that 15-degree angle.
You start at the base, and you drag it towards you with an even pressure from tip to tail.
-On both sides.
-On both sides, and you work the knife down the steel as you go.
So let me tell you how we tested these.
Every hone was assigned its own knife that we dulled with strikes against a glass cutting board.
-Glass is really hard.
It's horrible to cut on, and it's notorious for dulling a cutting edge.
And every couple of swipes down the hone, testers would stop and use the knife to slice paper, which is our standard sharpness test, and also cut fresh tomatoes just to judge, sort of evaluate the sharpness, see if there was any improvement.
We also took all of the hones and all of the knives that were honed on them to be examined under a high-powered microscope at MIT, in the Department of Material Science and Engineering, and that taught us a lot.
-So the good news is that honing really does make a difference.
All the knives felt a little sharper after they were honed.
However, there were differences.
The microscope at MIT revealed that the knives that were sharpened on a diamond-coated steel looked a little scratched, a little rougher, but they still cut through the paper just fine.
-Testers preferred a smoother surface that polishes the cutting edge rather than really rips it up, and what they liked even more were some of these had the dual surface, so that you have a slightly rougher surface to take a little more metal off and give you a little more aggressive honing, and then you can polish it on the smoother surface just by turning the rod 90 degrees and running it down the other side.
-In terms of using the different models, testers really preferred those that had a longer rod -- about 12 inches was the longest one -- just because it was a lot easier to get the full stroke from the heel to the tip of the blade.
You can see from the handles, they all flare a little bit at the base where it meets the rod.
Some of them flare more.
Some flare less.
Testers preferred those that flared less because they just felt like the more dramatic flare could get in the way of the stroke.
So, in the end, the one that they liked the best was this one.
This is the Bob Kramer double-cut sharpening steel.
It's about $48.
It's got a long, 12-inch rod.
It's got two textures -- smooth and a little bit rougher.
It was really a great sharpening hone.
If you want to spend a little bit less money, there was a best buy.
This is the Idahone 12-inch fine ceramic sharpening rod.
It's about $35, nice, smooth texture, gave a really good polished edge.
-So there you have it.
Our favorite is the Bob Kramer double-cut sharpening steel for $48, and our runner-up, the best buy, is the Idahone 12-inch fine ceramic sharpening rod for $35.
♪♪ -Here's what usually happens when you try to sauté mushrooms.
You start cooking the mushrooms in a tablespoon of oil in a skillet.
You stir a few times, and before you know it, all the oil is gone.
So you add a little more oil.
And you stir some more.
And once again, the oil is gone.
So you add a little more oil.
And you stir some more.
And once again, the oil is gone.
So this keeps happening over and over until you've added so much oil that you may as well just deep-fry the mushrooms.
Raw mushrooms are able to absorb loads of oil because they are packed with air pockets like a sponge.
Check this out.
I soaked an equal amount of mushrooms in the same amount of oil for 5 minutes.
This batch here was raw.
This batch I cooked briefly in the microwave before adding the oil.
The raw mushrooms absorbed all but 1 tablespoon of the oil.
The cooked mushrooms, on the other hand, barely absorbed any oil at all.
Just look at the dramatic difference.
By cooking the mushrooms first before introducing oil, we can collapse those air pockets so that when oil is introduced, it has nowhere to go.
That's how you make great sautéed mushrooms without drowning them in oil.
♪♪ -Mushroom sales are hot, and last year, they reached an all-time high, bringing in over $1.2 billion.
Now, helping to boost sales are the wide varieties you can now find everywhere, from portobellos and creminis to oysters and maitakes, but the question now is for Lan.
What's the best way to cook them?
-So before we get to the best way, here's what not to do.
-You don't take beautifully foraged maitakes, hedgehogs, and white beech mushrooms, throw them in a screaming-hot pan and kind of hope that you get some color and that they're not a greasy mess.
So here's what you should be doing.
-I've got a pound and 1/4 of mushrooms here -- three different types.
-I've got some white button mushrooms, and these are really easy.
I'm just gonna trim the bottom off.
-And you're leaving the stem on.
-Yes, they're great.
I'm gonna quarter these because they're a little bit large, and if they were a little smaller, I would halve them.
-Because you want them to be the same size so they cook at the same rate.
-Yeah, these guys are gonna shrink down to about half their size.
So I'm shooting for 1 to 1 1/4-inch pieces.
-These are oyster mushrooms, and they're fantastic.
They are really easy to prep, as well.
I'm just gonna cut them off the stem.
-Because that stem is really hard, and it won't soften during cooking.
-Right, and then we're just gonna separate any of the larger pieces.
I'm just gonna tear in half.
So here we're looking for 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces.
-And all these mushrooms have been washed already.
-Right, you don't have to worry about them sucking up water.
Last up, I have shiitakes.
Again, I'm just stemming them, and you just grab the stem and pop them off.
Again, those stems won't soften.
-Right, and the smaller ones, I'm gonna halve, and this larger one, I'm gonna quarter, and with all of these mushrooms, I'm just looking for flat edges because they're gonna make contact with the pan, and they'll brown.
You ready to start cooking?
-I am going to dump these in a cold pan.
-Well, that's the opposite of a screaming-hot skillet.
So the best way to get browning, you're telling me, is to start in a cold pan and to crowd it.
-Yes, and... -Okay, breaking all the rules, Lan.
-Don't forget, add 1/4 cup of water.
-You really are breaking all the rules.
-So I'm just gonna crank this up to high and push this around a little bit.
The reason I'm doing all of this is mushrooms are full of little pockets, and those pockets will suck up oil.
That's why whenever you add oil to mushrooms, all that oil disappears.
-Right, so as we're driving off that water, they're gonna collapse.
Those little pockets are gonna go away, and then they can't suck up the oil.
You'll see in just a couple minutes all the juices that were in the mushroom, they're gonna be on that pan.
So, Julia, you can see that this is pretty juicy, and the mushrooms have also collapsed into almost a single layer, which is exactly what we're looking for.
I'm gonna let these keep going until this pan is almost dry.
This is gonna take a total of 4 to 8 minutes.
It kind of depends on the mushrooms and how wet they are.
So it's been about 7 minutes, and, as you can see, there's no water left in this pan.
-No, it's dry.
-Yeah, so it's time to add the oil and start browning.
-I have 1/2 teaspoon of oil, and it's plenty of oil because the mushrooms aren't gonna soak the oil up anymore.
It just needs to coat the mushrooms.
-I'm also gonna turn the heat down to medium high.
It's gonna take 4 to 8 minutes, and we're gonna let these guys brown.
So these look great.
You can see the color on these guys.
They're beautiful, and I think we're ready to move on.
So I'm just gonna push them.
-You clear the center of the skillet so you can add more ingredients.
-Yes, and we're adding 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
-There's the fat!
-It needed some.
-So you skimped on the oil so you could add extra butter.
-That's the way to do it.
I'm also gonna turn the heat down to medium.
Now that the butter is melted, I'm adding one shallot that's been minced.
This is 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, 1/4 teaspoon of table salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.
I'm just gonna stir this around, let those shallots cook by themselves for a second.
So it's been 30 seconds, and you can see these shallots have softened nicely.
So I'm adding 1/4 cup of a dry red wine here, and you want something that isn't too strongly oaked because those flavors are gonna concentrate, and that gets a little heavy, and I've also got a tablespoon of cider vinegar.
-It kind of brightens it and sweetens it a little bit.
-So this is rosemary, shallot, and red wine, but you could do other things, too.
-Oh, for sure.
I tried a bunch of different flavor combinations.
It's a really versatile method.
-You can find those other variations on our website.
-It's been a couple minutes, and you can see the pan is dry again.
-I'm going to add the last ingredient, and it's 1/3 of a cup of chicken broth.
I want the mushrooms to be lightly coated in just a little sauce, and the simmering you see here is actually really great.
It emulsifies the fat into the liquid so that it doesn't eat greasy.
So I want this to reduce by half.
It's going to take 2 to 3 minutes.
This looks pretty great.
It needs a little bit of salt and pepper.
Are you ready for this?
-I know you like mushrooms, right?
-I love mushrooms.
Oh, the smell of the shallots and the rosemary and the butter.
I actually smell the butter.
-Aren't they great?
-It's the texture of the mushrooms.
They're perfection, not spongy, not rubbery, just meaty and toothsome.
-Yeah, I've actually served these to people who don't like mushrooms and changed their minds.
-I believe it, and the flavor of the rosemary and the shallot and the red wine, that rosemary is fragrant but not overpowering.
Well done, Lan.
These are great.
-And there you have it, the key to perfectly cooked mushrooms is to cram them into a 12-inch nonstick skillet, add water and let them wilt.
Once the excess moisture has evaporated, just add a tiny amount of oil to help them brown.
For a final hit of flavor, add some butter and a few aromatics, then some chicken broth so it cooks down to a luscious glaze, and there you have it.
From "America's Test Kitchen" to your kitchen, a terrific new recipe for sautéed mushrooms with red wine and rosemary.
You can get this recipe and all the recipes from this season, along with our tastings, testings, and select episodes, at our website -- americastestkitchen.com.
-Oh, thank you.
-Let us help you with dinner tonight.
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