Fennel-Coriander Top Sirloin Roast
This recipe requires refrigerating the salted meat for at least 24 hours before cooking. The roast, also called a top sirloin roast, top butt roast, center-cut roast, spoon roast, shell roast, or shell sirloin roast, should not be confused with a whole top sirloin butt roast or top loin roast. Do not omit the anchovies; they provide great depth of flavor with no overt fishiness. Monitoring the roast with a meat-probe thermometer is best. If you use an instant-read thermometer, open the oven door as little as possible and remove the roast from the oven to take its temperature.
How Our Roast Measures Up to More Traditional Roasts
Though they have their pluses, two of the most classic holiday beef roasts—tenderloin and standing rib—have their minuses, too. After we turned top sirloin’s drawbacks into assets by halving the roast, tying it, and adding a flavorful, attractive spice paste, there wasn’t any reason to look elsewhere.
TOP SIRLOIN ROAST
Cooking Time: 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours
STANDING RIB ROAST
Cooking Time: 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours
Cooking Time: 45 to 60 minutes
Dress it Up with a Spice Paste
Because our roast lacks a fat cap, we cover it in a robustly flavored paste that browns in the oven, adding a boost of complex flavor, textural contrast, and visual appeal.
Shopping for the Right Roast
The boneless top sirloin center-cut roast comes from the hip of the cow, an area that may be called the sirloin (the term we use in the test kitchen) or the loin, depending on the butcher. To make sure you get the right cut, it helps to know exactly what to look for.
It should be about 8 inches square and 4 inches tall at the center, with one side that tapers into a narrower end and two sides that slope. Make sure there’s no fat cap but there is a reasonable amount of marbling.
BONELESS TOP SIRLOIN CENTER-CUT ROAST: We buy a whole roast and cut it in two for even cooking.
- 1 (5- to 6-pound) boneless top sirloin center-cut roast
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 4 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
- 2 teaspoons ground fennel
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Coarse sea salt
Adapted from AmericasTestKitchen.com
1. Cut roast lengthwise along grain into 2 equal pieces. Rub 1 tablespoon kosher salt over each piece. Transfer to large plate and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 24 hours or up to 4 days.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 225 degrees. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until just smoking. Brown 1 roast on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Return browned roast to plate. Repeat with 2 teaspoons oil and remaining roast. Let cool for 10 minutes.
3. While roasts cool, process garlic, anchovies, fennel, coriander, paprika, oregano, and remaining 1/4 cup oil in food processor until smooth paste forms, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add pepper and pulse to combine, 2 to 3 pulses.
4. Using 5 pieces of kitchen twine per roast, tie each roast crosswise at equal intervals into loaf shape. Transfer roasts to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and rub roasts evenly with paste.
5. Roast until meat registers 125 degrees for medium-rare or 130 degrees for medium, 2 to 2 1/4 hours. Remove roasts from oven, leaving on wire rack, and tent loosely with aluminum foil; let rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 40 minutes.
6. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Remove foil from roasts and cut and discard twine. Return roasts to oven and cook until exteriors of roasts are well browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
7. Transfer roasts to carving board. Slice meat 1/4 inch thick. Season with sea salt to taste, and serve.