Whether the holidays are ahead of us or behind us, we should always have a reason to celebrate, regardless of the time of year. When I think about a special meal, I think about a gorgeous standing rib roast or “entrecote de boeuf” along with a spread of side dishes and freshly baked Yorkshire puddings. Whether it is dressed up for Sunday dinner or dressed down over candlelight for a romantic evening, it will ensure that you are forever loved. Check out the photo below of prime rib for two that my friend Ron DiGennaro and his gourmand accomplice, Joe Frevola presented to their dates over the holidays.
The first thing is to buy the right amount of meat from a good butcher. When securing the portion you need, make sure your butcher trims and ties it for you. If you want a more formal presentation, you can ask him to “French” the ribs but some might object (such as husbands or canines).
Portions will depend on how much your guests eat in general, how many side dishes you are serving and whether or not you are serving an appetizer.
• two to four (4) people – three lb. rib roast (do not buy less than a 3lb. roast — otherwise just make Ribeye steaks on the grill)
•six (6) people – four lb. rib roast
• eight (8) people – five lb. rib roast
•ten (10) people – six lb. rib roast
•twelve (12) people – eight lb. rib roast
Do not wash the meat EVER and make sure that you pat the meat dry before seasoning in the event of condensation from keeping overnight in the refrigerator.
You will find a litany of discourse on the internet about salting vs. not salting a rib roast prior to roasting. I find that salting prior to roasting works best for my taste. In my opinion, it is a good thing that the salt draws moisture from the roast which elevates the flavor in the same manner as dry aging. I advise to salt to taste using about 1/4 teaspoon per 1.5 lbs. The initial sear on high heat will make for a juicy roast. When I make this at the restaurant, I sear it on the grill before roasting the oven.
In a small bowl, combine salt, coarse pepper, dry mustard (1/4 per 1.5 lbs), 1/4 cup of olive oil or melted butter, small amount of minced, smashed garlic (do not overdo the garlic), a schmear of horseradish and a dash of Thyme leaves and brush mixture over the meat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
Remove the roast from the refrigerator at least hours before you plan to cook it in order to bring it up to room temperature before cooking it. Heat oven or grill to 500 degrees. I like to sear the outside of the roast on a grill or very large pan before roasting roasting in the oven at 375 degrees. Otherise set the roast, rib-side down (the rib acts as a rack), in a heavy, shallow roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes at this high heat to form a crust, then reduce heat to 375 degrees. You will cook this about 15 minutes per lb (while basting it every 15 minutes) or until it reaches 120 to 125 degrees at the widest point of the roast with an instant read thermometer. Remove roast to a cutting board rack down and let rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. You will be tempted to leave the roast in the oven longer but don’t do it. The roast keeps cooking long after you remove it and it is easy to end up with an overcooked and potentially dry roast.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the roasting pan. Set pan on stove over medium heat. Add on cup of red wine and simmer for about 10 minutes until juices begin to darken and add additional seasoning to taste. Add sauteed mushrooms from the Long Island Mushroom Co. and shallots to the jus and pour into a gravy boat. Serve with brussel sprouts, string beans, asparagus or carrots if going lighter for a romantic meal and add your favorite Yorkshire pudding recipe if serving for a family meal.
Dessert for a meal like this should be kept simple like an assortment of your favorite chocolates and some Port of more red wine.
Currently we are pairing some of our steak dishes at Cuvee with a Merlot from Coffee Pot Cellars. The dark fruit in this Merlot stands up to the flavor of beef without challenging it. The soft tannins and earthiness is a great accompaniment to our steak frites and the Steak du Campagne sandwich with our mushroom and fresh herb “French dip” sauce. And it also tastes great with chocolate!
This meat will exhibit all of its beefy flavor the next day with mustard and rye bread for sandwiches or with eggs and home fries for brunch.