Love letter #3, rib-eyes

There is nothing better than a perfectly cooked steak for dinner, but everyone has his or her own methods of how to cook one. I found that most of my attempts would turn out okay, but never matched the quality that I could get in a steakhouse. Steakhouses are a nice date, but I wanted to find a way that I could cook steak at home and match the quality of a restaurant. Good steaks are expensive so I needed to make sure that I had a foolproof way of cooking them. Alex works hard, so I try to make a steak dinner for him at least twice a month.

Cooking steak takes a loss less time and effort than one might think. It’s a simple yet comforting way to splurge during the week. Steak is cost-effective and a hearty meal when you’re cooking for one and there won’t be any leftovers with this recipe. Drinking a heavy and bold cabernet sauvignon will totally up the comfort factor.

There are two ways that I cook steak and they both involve searing and cooking in the oven, just at different times. With filet mignon, I like to sear every side for about a minute in a hot pan, and then stick it in a hot oven for 9 minutes with a pat of butter. Comes out perfect every time.

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via seriouseats.com

But when it comes to a fattier piece of meat, I found that my old tried and true filet style of cooking didn’t translate well. After some research, I discovered the concept of “reverse searing” and I have never looked back.

You can read all about the science behind the reverse sear at one of my favorite and informative websites, “Serious Eats”. Click here for the science behind it.

Though most people look to the filet as the top choice in steaks, Alex and I have always preferred the ribeye. Filet is very tender, yes, but also very lean. I find the added fat and extra marbleization in the ribeye makes for a more hearty and satisfying dinner.

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You always want to liberally season your steaks with salt and pepper. Generally steaks don’t need any more than that. An exception being to flank, hanger, or skirt steak that you might marinate.

For reverse searing, set your oven temperature as low as possible. Most ovens can’t accurately hold low temps, so I set mine for 250 degrees. An oven thermometer is a cheap and effective way of knowing if it’s heating properly.

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Heat a pan (preferably cast iron, enameled cast iron, or stainless steel, no nonstick) over high heat for 5-7 minutes. Add a tablespoon of oil with a high smoke point. I use refined avocado oil, but you can use vegetable or canola oil, among others. This is not the time to break out your extra virgin olive oil. Avocado oil has a higher price point, but has health benefits the same way that olive oil does and vegetable oils do not.

Add the rib-eyes to the pan after reaching desired temperature in the oven (115-118 for medium rare) along with a tablespoon of butter. Sear each side for 45 seconds.

Your fire alarm will most likely go off during the searing. Open your windows and doors and turn on your fans.

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Perfectly cooked rare to medium-rare with no gray edges and a crispy crust

Pair with anything you like. We had it over arugula with pan sauce and mashed cauliflower. To make it more steakhouse-esque, caramelize onions and mushrooms and eat with potato wedges and steamed broccoli on the side. Serving it over a light salad of arugula with parmesan and a lemon vinaigrette (recipe here) is a way to turn a heavy steak into summer fare.

Pan sauces are a quick and easy way to round out your meal. In the same pan you cooked the steaks in, add some wine, chicken broth, Dijon mustard, thyme, garlic, butter, a few springs of thyme or chopped parsley, and some onion or shallot. Cook until reduced. Add some heavy cream off the heat if you prefer a slightly thicker sauce.

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Mashed cauliflower is a lighter alternative to its potato counterpart, and Alex requests and prefers it to the starchy, heaviness of a mashed potato. The recipe could not be simpler.

Chop a head of cauliflower and boil it until fork tender, then use an immersion blender to puree until desired consistency.

Sour cream adds a tang to the vegetables, while parmesan adds a salty nuttiness. Season with salt and pepper. Add chopped chives, parsley or dill if you so desire.

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Served over arugula with pan sauce and mashed cauliflower
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Arugula salad with parmesan and lemon vinaigrette. Paired with roasted asparagus and crusty bread

Steak night is always a happy night at our house. You feel like you should be in heels at St. Elmo’s downtown, but really you’re in your comfiest clothes ready to dig in at the dining room table. Steak is easy and mashed cauliflower is an elegant twist to a classic comfort food. It’s great for an early evening summer meal, but we like it best on cozy, rainy evenings. Enjoy.

Reverse seared rib-eyes

  • 2 thick cut rib-eyes
  • Avocado oil
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Let steaks come to room temperature, 30 minutes or so. Liberally season steaks with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put steaks on cooking rack over baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake until 115-120 degrees for medium-rare, about 30 minutes (though depending on each oven, starting checking temps around the 15 minute mark).

While steaks are in the oven, heat a cast iron pan on the stove over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Add a tbsp of avocado oil. Add steaks and tbsp of butter to pan and sear each side for 45 to 60 seconds. Serve immediately.

Mashed cauliflower

  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan reggiano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional chopped chives, dill or parsley

Boil cauliflower with salt until fork tender. Drain water. Use an immersion blender to blend until desired consistency. Add sour cream and parmesan and stir. Season with salt and pepper and fresh herbs.

 

 

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