♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -Today on "America's Test Kitchen"... Dan make Bridget foolproof beef top loin roast.
Adam reveals his top pick for metal spatulas.
And Becky makes Julia the perfect chopped carrot salad.
It's all coming up right here on "America's Test Kitchen."
♪♪ -Roast beef and potatoes served together on a plate?
Roast beef and potatoes cooked together in the same pan?
That's a challenge.
But Dan's here.
He's the king of roast beef and potatoes, and he's gonna show us a great way to make this happen.
-I'm gonna make it happen.
We're gonna start with a top loin roast, which is super-beefy, great for the holidays.
-So, the first thing I'm gonna do is pat it dry.
So, this is a 5-to-6-pound top loin roast.
-We get our strip steaks from here.
It's a killer, killer roast.
So, I'm gonna flip this over.
You can see this kind of side chain right here.
-We're gonna cut it off and put it to good use in our recipe.
And then I'm gonna rotate it, and I'm also gonna take off -- This side usually has a bit of fat right here.
And then I'm gonna take that off, as well.
We're gonna trim it up so that it's a gorgeous, even rectangle.
We know that even things cook really evenly.
-And that's what we're after.
And then I'm gonna cut these scraps into 1-inch pieces.
So, I'm gonna transfer these scraps to a bowl, and we're gonna refrigerate that along with the roast.
-Got a little more work to do on this guy here, and what we're gonna do now is crosshatch it.
That's gonna do a couple of things.
It's gonna access the meat for us so we can get salt onto it... -Gotcha.
-...which is great.
It's also gonna allow more fat to render as we cook, and you get these crispy little edges on all of those cuts.
So, I'm gonna do about 1/2-inch apart, about 1/4-inch down.
We're gonna hit the meat but not go into it.
Now I'm just gonna rotate and go in the other direction.
-Little diamond-cut action.
So, we're gonna season this up now, and I have 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and a teaspoon of ground black pepper.
Just gonna do a little combo.
And...time to season.
-Make it rain, Dan.
-Make it rain.
And, so, on this side where we have these nice cuts now, I'm gonna try and work it in, really rub it down to the meat.
And that is the last of that.
Now I'm gonna use the old, uh, "clean up your board with the beef" technique.
-I love the beef sponge.
-Yeah, just pick up all of that salt that came off the sides.
So, now we're gonna wrap this in plastic.
Transfer this to my baking sheet.
And I'm also gonna wrap up my scraps.
And, so, I'll refrigerate that for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.
Takes a long time for salt to make its way into the meat, and we want it to be really evenly seasoned.
So, Dan's using a top loin roast.
Let me show you where it is on the cow.
It's right here.
This is also known as the short loin.
And the top loin is, guess where.
[Clicks tongue] Up here at the top right along the back.
Now, this is also the cut that you can get strip steaks from.
Sometimes it's called a strip roast, and it's a beautiful cut of meat.
It's got a nice fat cap on top, lots of connective tissue, marbling, and juicy, juicy, beefy flavor.
It's actually comparable to prime rib, but it's $4 less per pound, so when the holidays come around, go check out the top loin roast.
-Okay, so, now it's time for my favorite part, which is the potatoes, and they're gonna basically steal the show of this whole recipe.
So, I'm gonna start with 5 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes.
They're creamy and buttery, and they're gonna get insanely tender, and they suck up all the juices in this recipe.
-So, first I'm gonna peel.
I'm gonna trim the bottom 1/4-inch from both sides.
But we're gonna leave these really big.
I'm just gonna go right in half like this, and that's it.
So we have a really nice brownable surface.
Big roast, big potatoes.
-So, then we're gonna season these up.
I have 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and a teaspoon of pepper.
Do a little mix on these again.
Those are all seasoned up.
Before they go into the pan, we're gonna take care of our beef here.
-I've got my roasting pan here with 1/4 cup of vegetable oil on the bottom.
Take my gorgeous roast.
It's gonna go fat side down right in the center.
-Now the scraps.
If we browned this and roasted this to get all the juices out of it so that they could get into the potatoes, this thing would be leathery and dried out.
-These scraps I can completely obliterate.
We're not gonna eat them, so I can use them to get tons of fond and then extract a lot of that into a great jus.
So I'm just gonna sprinkle these around.
So, now I'm gonna turn my heat on to medium, and we're gonna cook this for about 8 to 12 minutes until that fat cap is gorgeously browned.
We're gonna flip it over and get the other side, and these scraps all the while will get nice and dark.
You see the scraps are looking really good.
But the most gorgeous thing is this roast.
So, I haven't touched it to this point yet.
It's just been on that fat cap side down.
So, we're gonna do a flip here, and you'll get to see just how gorgeous... -Ah, yes!
-...that cap has become.
So, that crosshatching, you can see the big value to it now.
So, we're gonna let this go.
Again, the scraps are gonna keep browning.
We're getting some good browning on the bottom here.
Probably about 6 to 10 minutes.
So, I'm gonna turn the heat off.
-[ Sighs ] -We've got such good browning all over.
It looks like we should be able to eat it now.
We're gonna have to wait a little bit longer.
-That crackling on top looks beautiful.
So, I'm gonna transfer the roast out over here to a plate.
Set that aside.
And now I've got a slotted spoon in my saucepan over here.
We're gonna take the scraps out, get them into here, and then we're gonna use them to extract into a really beautiful sauce.
-Love this idea.
-Okay, so, now finally the first time the potatoes and beef are gonna meet in this recipe.
We have lots of great rendered beef fat here, and we have these gorgeous potatoes with the flat side up, so they're gonna go cut side down into the fat.
Okay, so, now it's time to get some really beautiful browning on the bottom of these potatoes, so I'm gonna turn the heat back to medium.
We're gonna let these go.
I'm not gonna flip them, but I can check them every now and then with some tongs to see how we're doing.
We're looking for really good browning around the outside, and that's gonna take about 15 to 20 minutes.
So, it's been 20 minutes.
Let's check out one of our potatoes.
Now, sometimes they stick a little bit at this stage, so you don't want to pry them off, but if they come loose, you can check really easily.
-And that is gorgeous browning.
It's not fully browned all over, but there's gonna be more time for that.
So, I'm gonna turn off the heat at this point and then remove it from the heat, let it cool down just a touch.
This is when we finally get our roast and our potatoes together.
We've been wanting that for a while.
But here's the thing -- is we want to cook that roast really low and slow, right, so we get medium-rare meat from edge to edge.
-Really nice and juicy.
Potatoes, if you cook them at that low rate, they never fully soften.
-We're solving that problem by using a sheet of foil we're gonna press right onto the surface.
Trap steam in there, which is gonna be key, and the roast is gonna be sitting on top.
So, that's gonna trap a ton of steam in there, help those potatoes cook, but we want some of the juices from the roast to drip down in there, so we're just gonna poke five holes right in the middle.
So our roast is gonna go right in the center.
We're gonna go into a 300-degree oven, which is nice and low.
But it's gonna get really steamy and cook those potatoes through perfectly.
This is gonna take about an hour and a quarter, and we're looking for 115 degrees in the center.
So, now it is time to go back to our scraps, and we're gonna build a really intense sauce out of this that's gonna help season those potatoes really nicely.
So we're looking for all kinds of beefy stuff here.
We've got our scraps, we got 5 cups of beef broth, and we're gonna add some aromatic quality to this with six sprigs of thyme and two sprigs of rosemary.
These are classic flavors for potatoes and beef.
We're also gonna bump up the unctuous quotient a little bit with some powdered gelatin.
So, gelatin we know adds tons of viscosity and richness to broths.
-And, so, this is 2 tablespoons of unflavored gelatin.
-So it's gonna cling to the beef later on.
-And then 4 cloves of garlic that we just smashed lightly.
So, I'm gonna bring this up to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce it to a simmer, and we'll go for about 15 minutes just to extract as much as we can out of those scraps.
That smells good.
-That smells great.
So, we're gonna strain it off.
Those scraps have given up a lot of good beefiness.
And we'll just press on those solids, get as much as we can out.
We're looking for 4 cups, and if you end up with a little bit less, you can add water to get back up to that, but this looks perfect.
I'm gonna take this out.
And if you wouldn't mind popping that up to 500 degrees.
We're looking for 115 degrees in the center of this roast.
And that is perfect.
-I'll transfer our roast over to this carving board.
I'm gonna let this foil do double duty as a foil shield for this.
A nice little tent and keep it warm.
So, now to our gorgeous potatoes.
It is now time to flip them.
Look at that color.
-Isn't that beautiful?
-These look gorgeous.
-Browning is absolutely beautiful, but we're not done getting the beef into these potatoes.
So, we have our gorgeous liquid that we made before.
We'll pour this in and around.
-So, we're gonna go back in that oven.
It's okay that it hasn't come up to 500 yet.
It's gonna keep climbing.
We're gonna cook this until the liquid is reduced by about half, which takes 20 to 30 minutes.
Look at these potatoes.
-They're stunning, right?
-They're like little jewels in there.
These are perfect.
So, I'm gonna very carefully -- They're incredibly tender.
-Transfer them over to our serving platter.
Those are so beautiful.
So, this liquid has done a lot for us with the potatoes.
But it's not done yet.
We're gonna defat it.
So I'm gonna pour it into this fat separator over here.
We're gonna let that sit for about 5 minutes.
It's gonna separate that fat out, and then we can pour off the gorgeous jus underneath.
-In the meantime, we can carve up our gorgeous beef roast.
Time to slice into our rested roast over here.
So, we're gonna do about 1/2-inch-thick slices.
And look how evenly cooked it is, as well.
-Isn't that gorgeous?
-Now I'm just gonna transfer these over to our platter.
We'll come over here.
This has settled.
You can see that layer of fat on top.
So, now I'm gonna separate it out into this bowl.
And I love this fat separator.
Just comes right out the bottom.
-And we'll just leave that fat behind.
I'm gonna serve you the beef first.
Which potato you want?
-I'm gonna give you two, though.
You're not gonna want just one.
And little bit of this gorgeous sauce.
You can see how velvety that is.
What's nice, too, is that a little bit of the potato starch has gone into the sauce, too, so it has a bit more body.
-Ready to dig in?
-Let's tuck in.
You know, it's called roast beef and potatoes, right?
So I got to start with the beef.
-You got to start with the beef.
Really well seasoned.
Make sure you get some of that crispy crust on the top there, that fat cap.
It's almost like prime rib in the center there.
-Got a few bites of beef in before I go into the potatoes 'cause I'm afraid, once I tuck in here, I might not go back.
-You might not go back.
So, you can use a knife, but it's almost unnecessary.
-There's no resistance there.
-Just on the crust itself.
Once you're into the potato, no resistance.
-It's so beefy.
Like, I know it's a potato, technically speaking.
[Chuckling] But it's so beefy.
-I think, at this point, it's actually meat.
-It's -- It's turned into meat.
-It's so good.
-These potatoes melt in your mouth.
-Are you still in the beef camp, or did you come over to the potato side?
-I will always have one leg planted firmly in camp beef.
-But, uh, my other two legs are in camp potato.
-[ Laughs ] All right.
Two to one.
That sounds good.
-This beautiful meal starts with a top loin roast.
Trim, season, and refrigerate the roast.
Brown on the stove top.
Arrange halved Yukon Gold potatoes in the pan and then cook them until browned.
Cover with foil, place the beef on top, and cook in the oven.
Meanwhile, simmer beef broth, herbs, gelatin, and those beef trimmings to make a beautiful sauce.
While the roast rests, cook the potatoes in the sauce and then slice the roast and serve.
So from "America's Test Kitchen" to your kitchen, beef top loin roast with potatoes.
I think it should be potatoes with beef top loin roast.
-I completely agree.
♪♪ -Often referred to as a flipper or a turner, a metal spatula is an essential kitchen tool, and Adam's here to tell us more.
-We have two different styles of metal spatulas, as you can see.
-This group here are all fish spatulas.
-You can tell because it's got a slightly longer and slotted head.
It's also tapered in shape.
And they are sort of the darling of the restaurant kitchen, also our favorite in the test kitchen.
The second group are more conventional metal spatulas.
You can see that the heads are shorter and squarer.
So, we have 10 total.
The price range was $4.50 up to about $50... -Ooh!
-...believe it or not, for one of these spatulas.
So, our testing squadron used all of these models to turn over pancakes and eggs, also big, hefty 1/2-pound pub burgers, nice, wide, delicate fish fillets that were pan-frying, and home fries.
They were all in various pans and skillets of different sizes from compact to spacious.
They also used them to transfer sugar cookies off of a hot baking sheet onto a wire rack.
And, then, a second group with different dominant hands also used them to turn over pancakes just to see how they work for lefties and righties.
-Let's talk about the business end, or the head, first.
So, the fish spatulas as a group have longer heads that are tapered.
The average length was about 5 1/2 inches, and that was great for providing support for all kinds of wider foods like the pancakes or the fish fillets.
It wasn't necessarily the case with these that have the shorter, stubbier heads.
The average was about 4 inches.
Look at that one for instance.
-What happened there is, if the testers got a little too vigorous when they were moving a pancake or a cookie, sometimes it hit the back of the head and got a little dent in it.
-Oh, yeah, that is quite a distinct angle right there on the handle.
Now, while you have that one, another issue was how flexible or rigid these things were.
-Check out the flexibility.
Just try and bend that.
-I'm really having to press pretty hard.
-That one was really hard, and that made it a little trickier to maneuver under delicate foods.
-And, then, there's this one.
Why don't you try that?
That's a flexible spatula!
-That one is a little too flexible for most of our testers.
It's 0.2 millimeters thick.
Easy to maneuver under delicate foods, but sometimes it buckled when you got a really heavy pub burger on there.
Now why don't you try this?
This is the fish spatula.
-Isn't that nice?
The fish spatulas sort of hit that sweet spot in terms of rigidity and flexibility.
They were about 0.8 to 0.9 millimeters thick.
That was great for sliding under delicate foods but also gave enough support for heavier foods.
-The handles were also important on spatulas, and I want you to try that one down at the very end.
Well, the handle's fine, but it feels like the spatula head's in a different county.
That's just -- That's too far.
-Exactly what the testers thought.
The testers thought that the longer ones with the conventional spatulas were just too long.
They were 8 to 9 inches long, and it put their hands too far away from the action.
Try that one.
-Yeah, it's perfect.
Your hand's well away from the heat source, but it's close enough so you can actually maneuver the spatula where you need it to be.
-And all of these fish spatulas' handles were between 4 1/2 and 5 inches long, and that was, again, a sweet spot for our testers.
-So, you are in fact holding our winning spatula.
-That's the Wusthof Gourmet 12-inch fish spatula.
It's about $50.
So it's an investment.
-It's def-- -But you buy it once and you buy it right.
-It's definitely an investment.
This was our previous winner.
However, right on its heels was this guy.
Testers also named this one as a best buy.
It's the MIU France Flexible Fish Turner-Slotted.
It's about $17.
-Ooh, that's a big savings.
-So it's a lot less expensive than the winner, and it was second only to the winner.
It performed almost as well, so you can save a couple bucks there.
I do like the feel of this one a bit better, though.
-You have champagne taste, Julia.
-[ Laughs ] You know it.
So, there you have it.
The fish spatulas take the day, and our winner is the Wusthof Gourmet 12-inch fish spatula, and it runs about $50, but we do have a good runner-up.
It's the MIU France Flexible Fish Turner-Slotted, and it'll cost only $17.
♪♪ I've never been a fan of carrot salads.
In fact, I absolutely hate them, those wet shreds of carrots tossed with sweet raisins and doused in mayonnaise.
So when Becky started talking about this new carrot salad that she thought was terrific, I was intrigued.
-This really is a groundbreaking recipe.
-And I promise there's gonna be nothing damp or clumpy about it.
-You're gonna love it.
I'm so excited.
So, we're gonna start with the dressing.
We have 1/4 cup of olive oil.
We'll add 1/3 cup of fresh orange juice.
Little bit of sweetness.
2 tablespoons of white-wine vinegar.
And now just a tablespoon of honey -- not too much again.
[ Both laugh ] And there's no mayo.
-No mayo is a good start.
-You trust me, right?
-I totally trust you.
1/4 teaspoon of orange zest.
-Teaspoon of salt.
And 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
So, right off the bat, it's a vinaigrette, not a mayo-based dressing.
So we're off to a really good start, right?
-Yeah, well, that's different right away.
-Yes, this is really fresh, really bright.
I think we're also gonna set a record today with the fastest recipe that we've ever done on the show.
We're gonna be done in 5 minutes here.
That's my kind of thing.
So, our dressing can hang out for a minute.
And now we're gonna move over to the food processor.
I have 3/4 cup of blanched hazelnuts that we toasted in the oven for a little while, and if you can't find the blanched type, you can go ahead and toast them with the skins on and then just rub those skins off with a towel.
-And it's okay if some skins remain on there.
So, we'll chop these up in the food processor.
10 to 12 pulses here.
So, let's take the nuts out.
-Oh, that smells good!
-Ooh, I know!
Toasting the nuts really brings out their oils and their flavors.
So, I'm putting that right back on the stand here.
You don't need to wash out the bowl or anything.
And now we have some fennel that we're going to chop up.
-There's no crazy chopping here.
We just need to get this broken down a little bit.
I'm just removing the core there, that little triangle piece.
-Just a tiny bit tough.
So we'll take that out.
And then we'll just chop this into 1-inch pieces.
Put that in.
Doesn't need to be perfect at all.
10 to 12 pulses with the fennel.
So, you can see that's pretty fine.
-The salad is actually fun to eat.
The textures are really interesting.
And believe it or not, we're almost done.
We just have one more thing to chop.
You're winning me over with speed here.
That's for sure.
What we're going to do is, we're gonna just chop the carrots in the food processor.
-We're gonna get this really fine, fluffy texture that's kind of like tabbouleh.
This is a pound of carrots.
If you can, you want to try and find the carrots with their green tops attached like this.
So, this is really simple.
Just trim off these carrot tops here.
-Now, do you use these for anything?
You can make pesto out of them.
You can chop them up and put them in salads kind of like an herb.
Well, I know you're good about using every inch of your vegetable.
We don't want to waste those, so I'll put these in my purse for later.
[ Both laugh ] No one throw those away.
And now we'll just chop these guys up.
-You're leaving the skins on.
Isn't that awesome?
You don't even have to peel them.
-Oh, my goodness.
-In most recipes, we find that the skins are a little bit tough, and they have a slight bitterness, but we actually like that in this recipe.
It's counteracted by the honey and the little bit of sweetness that I put in, and then you end up with this perfect balance.
-So, now we'll just take our pound of carrots, and I'm just gonna chop them into 1-inch pieces.
This just makes them process evenly in the food processor.
So, that's 1 pound of carrots without the tops.
-Now we want to grind these up.
It's gonna take 10 to 20 seconds, and we're looking for a tabbouleh-like texture.
Into the bowl.
-So, those are a bit finer than the fennel.
That really looks like tabbouleh, right?
-Oh, it does.
-Okay, so, now I have 1/4 cup of minced chives, and this is one thing you don't want to chop in the food processor.
It'll just turn all green and muddy, so we chop these by hand.
And now we'll add half of our hazelnuts... and our dressing... -Wow!
-...with the honey and the orange.
-See how all these flavors are gonna come together?
-Well, what's got me right away is the texture of the carrots.
This seems good.
-I mean, when have you ever had a carrot salad like this?
Let's get this in the serving bowl.
Now, I have another 1/4 cup of minced chives here.
Put those on.
And the last of our hazelnuts.
What do you think about that?
-I think this is not like a carrot salad I've ever had before, and you don't have to let this sit and let the flavors meld.
You can eat it right away.
-It's ready to go.
-[ Sighs ] -Not bad for 5 minutes' work.
-I can't believe I've been missing this my whole life.
-That is really good.
It's crunchy, but there's -- You -- You said the texture, so I was paying attention.
-The texture of the carrots is slightly different than the fennel, than the nuts, and it's -- That trio of textures makes it fun.
You said fun, and I thought you were kidding, but this is a fun salad.
-It really is good.
The toasted hazelnuts and the orange.
-The freshness from the chives.
-Becky, I am blown away -- blown away that I would actually like a carrot salad this much.
This is gonna knock the socks off guests because it's so unusual and so delicious!
I hope you invite me to your party.
[ Both laugh ] -So, there you have it.
Carrot salads have gotten a makeover.
To make this, start with a simple dressing made with olive oil, white-wine vinegar, and some orange zest.
Leave the peels on the carrots and use a food processor to chop them into small pieces.
To finish, toss in some chopped fennel, toasted hazelnuts, and sprinkle with chives.
So from "America's Test Kitchen" to your kitchen, a surprising new recipe for chopped carrot salad with fennel, orange, and hazelnuts.
You can find this recipe and all the recipes from this season, along with our tastings, testings, and select episodes, at our website -- americastestkitchen.com.
-Let us help you with dinner tonight.
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