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Give Steaks That Extra Zip

Alex Lumelsky


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A juicy beefsteak and sautéed mushrooms go together perfectly — especially when you add a great sauce to the mix.

Make that beefsteak a filet mignon, add a yummy zip sauce, top it off with a tangy blue cheese and you’ve got a combo that’s irresistible.

Today’s recipe mixes up sautéed mushrooms with some fresh green beans and my version of a zip sauce, a hearty sauce that enhances the beef’s flavor.

Another plus: This recipe keeps the mess to a minimum because it uses the same skillet to cook the beef and the mushrooms and make the sauce.

Just make sure the skillet is oven-proof.

Using a skillet to first sear the filets is a way to ensure a crusty exterior and a tender and juicy interior. Finishing them off in the oven provides low and slow constant heat.

Another option is to grill the filets over a high heat first and then move them to a cooler part of the grill to finish the cooking. When grilling, you’ll need to make the sauce separately, keeping in mind it won’t have any of those flavorful beefy pan juices or little bits of food that are packed with flavor.

Many metro Detroit chefs offer a version of zip sauce served with steaks.

In Detroit, the original Lelli’s restaurant, which burned in 2000, is known as the originator of zip sauce. Lelli’s, which now operates in Auburn Hills, serves the sauce with its famous filet mignon.

Lelli’s, of course, won’t dish on the recipe, only describing it as “a rich, buttery and slightly salty glaze.”

And if you’ve ever had it, it’s arguably all of that.

Some area grocery and gourmet stores sell versions of the zip sauce. Michael Esshaki, a former waiter at Lelli’s in Detroit, created the zip sauce called the Original Zip Sauce. A 12-ounce bottle of Esshaki’s sauce is about $7. All you need to do is add butter.

– Susan M. Selasky, Free Press Test Kitchen Director