The key to extra-juicy rib eye steaks, according to chef Renee Erickson, of the restaurant formally known as, Boat Street Café in Seattle, is to “baste them with butter while they sear“. That is what I learned in culinary school and why this pan seared rib eye recipe was a must-make recipe for me when I read about it in Food & Wine. This is what steakhouses are known for, they just don’t mention it. I have modified Erickson’s recipe only slightly, the original recipe can be seen here.
Steak Searing Tips:
- Buy a good quality steak.
- Season it well with kosher salt, ideally 30 minutes before you plan to cook it.
- Cook it hot and fast.
- Finish with butter.
When searing a steak inside, the best steaks to use are boneless steaks that are between one and one-and-a-half inches thick. Thicker cuts, like a New York strip steak or a boneless rib eye, work best for this method. You want steak to have lots of marbling, this is the white fat that runs throughout the meat. When a steak has enough fat, it will stay juicy during the cooking process and has the meaty flavor and texture you want from a steak.
In culinary school you are taught to learn the doneness of a steak with the touch test. Sounds hard I know, but only at first. When cooking as often as a chef does, you learn quickly to tell doneness fast and accurately. That said, I get the challenges with learning how to touch test. So, the best and easiest way to determine the doneness of steak is with a probe thermometer. There are so many factors at play when you are searing a steak — the steak, the pan, the heat source—so to ensure you end up with the doneness your looking for, get comfortable with taking the temperature.
Steak Cooking Temperatures:
- Rare: 125°F, about six minutes total cooking.
- Medium-rare: 130°F, about eight minutes total cooking.
- Medium: 140°F, 9-10 minutes total cooking.
- Well-done: Over 140°F, 12 minutes total cooking.
How To Slice A Steak:
Slicing a steak across the grain creates shorter meat fibers, making for a more tender and easier chew. But let’s face it, not everyone really knows what “grain” means in this context. What you need to do is look closely at the steak for the long striations that run across the steak, typically from tip to tip. Across the grain means you cut across those striations or “grains”. Keep in mind depending on the actual cut, in some cases you may need to move the steak slightly off-set as you slice to cut across the grain.
In this pan seared rib eye, the cumin-anchovy butter elevates this steak to a whole new playing field. Earthy richness is how I can best describe the lovely flavors that compliment the rib eye so perfectly. Paired here with radicchio (the vegetable that looks like a small red cabbage, but belongs to the chicory family), packs an unexpected punch of flavor, that’s slightly bitter, but in a good way, that compliments the steaks meatiness. This is a lovely meal for cooler months that also qualifies as a quick meal since it whips up in under 40 minutes, what’s not to love there?
Rib Eye With Radicchio
- Two 14-ounce boneless rib eye steaks, about 1 1/2 inches thick
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 small garlic clove, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (8-ounce) package white mushroom, cleaned and sliced
- 2 heads of radicchio, trimmed and halved lengthwise
- Step 1 Let the steaks stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the butter with the thyme, cumin, garlic, anchovy paste, 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Step 2 In a large, heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over high heat. Generously season the steaks with salt and pepper and cook until the bottoms are nicely browned, about 4 minutes. Flip the steaks and add 2 tablespoons of the anchovy-cumin butter to the skillet. Cook, spooning the butter over the steaks, until the bottoms are nicely browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of each steak registers 125 degrees F for medium-rare meat, about 5 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a work surface and let rest for about 5-8 minutes.
- Step 3 Meanwhile, place the steak pan back over medium-high heat. When hot, add the sliced mushrooms and a generous sprinkling of salt and cook, without stirring until all the water has evaporated and you begin to see some coloration, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside. Place the pan back over medium-high heat. Rub the radicchio with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sear, cut side down, for about 2 minutes. Season with salt, sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and transfer to plates. Thinly slice the steaks and transfer to the plates. Top the steaks with mushrooms and spoon the remaining anchovy-cumin butter over the meat.
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