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5th March 2011
Prime Rib With Annick
Annick enjoying her steak.
Annick very kindly invited me to help paint anti-fouling onto the hulls of the Port Edgar Yacht Club's 707s, and since she seemed underwhelmed by my peace offering of a bacon roll as I sailed merrily off into the river in my Laser, I decided to pop into my favourite butcher in nearby Uphall and score another of their delicious prime ribs for an apologetic dinner.

The nice butcher man trimmed me a beautiful 2kg (4lb 4oz to be exact) single prime rib for a mere £24.80 with a nice length of protruding bone for ease of handling (and a generously filled a bag of shin bones for stock).

Being a bit pressed for time, I decided to cheat a little with the chips (steak needs chips!) and deep-fry some potato wedges from par-boiled potatoes, which turned out pretty damn fine I have to say, so after after rushing home with my shopping I put some small unpeeled King Edwards on to par-boil whilst I threw together a mushroom salad, and started to prepare a fairly quick side dish of lemony green beans.
I also made up the reduction for a half-quantity of béarnaise sauce (chips need béarnaise sauce!), preheated the oven, cut the par-cooked potatoes into quarter wedges, and started warming up some clarified butter that I had rather fortunately made earlier. So things were nicely underway by the time Annick arrived.

Unfortunately, things went slightly downhill after that - women are sooo distracting - I'm not even sure they should be allowed in the kitchen.
Sorry Annick - you were very helpful actually - doing all that washing up and helping out with the bean prep and table-laying. Thanks :)
I got the steak frying nicely and set off all the smoke detectors, then once the rib was in the oven I managed to curdle the béarnaise sauce by rushing it (probably I shouldn't have bothered trying to get it nice and warm in the double boiler after whisking in the melted butter and should have been satisfied with the result I had), but managed to rescue the situation by whisking up a new egg yolk over the boiling water in a clean bowl and whipping the curdled mixture back in.
The result was just fine though - I would have challenged anyone to tell the difference.

I stuck the sauce in a warmed thermos, put a pan of groundnut oil and a pan of water on to heat then when the oil was hot enough did the first round of deep-frying.
I was determined to get the meat as rare as I like it this time, and decided to ignore official temperature recommendations (and the guides on my meat thermometers) that claim beef is rare at 140°F/60°C (which is fucking nanny-state nonsense by the way) and aim for a more realistic ruby-red temperature of 120°F/50°C. Yumsk!

Once the steak was cooked and resting I got the beans on and did the second round of potato wedge frying whilst Annick waded in and laid the table.

And everything arrived together!
Though the mushrooms were a bit over-garlicked and I forgot to add oil to the beans, the fat chips were magnificent, the sauce was delicious and the steak - oh the steak - was bliss on a bone.

Annick asked me if I had mustard - so I introduced her to my meager collection of 7 varieties (I have a shelf in the fridge and a compartment of my cupboards devoted to mustards), but once she tasted the béarnaise sauce the pot stayed closed.

So there's validation for you.
And dinner... ...is served

Prime Rib
main meat
The most succulent of steaks, pan-fried on the bone then finished off in the oven.
This is just about the best hunk of steak on the cow - a single prime rib or forerib from between the 6th and 12th ribs - perfect for 2-3 people.
It's too massive a lump of meat to fry all the way through, so it needs to be finished off in the oven.
2 or 3 of the ribs make a truly excellent roast too.

Feeds 2 gloriously

Ingredients
Method
And off we go...
Prepare the meat
Make sure to take the meat out of the fridge in good time so it is at room temperature when you start.
Rub it all over with salt and olive oil.
Preheat the oven
Put a roasting tin in the oven (unless you can fit in your skillet) and get it up to 230°C/450°F/Gas 8
Pan Sear
Close your kitchen door, open all your kitchen windows and turn the extractor fan up full.
Fire up your cast iron griddle (you won't have access to Rachel's Le Creuset skillet since you broke up with her) and leave it until it is too hot to hold your hand near, then sear each side of the monster joint until nice and crisped - about 5 minutes per side and don't forget the edges.
Oven Roast
Put the skillet in the oven if it will fit, otherwise transfer the steak to the hot roasting tin and stick it back in the oven.
Turn the oven down to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 and cook the beast until the internal temperature of the meat reaches your target temperature (not forgetting it will continue to cook for a while afterwards).
Which means:
  • 50°F - 90°F for bleu
  • 90°F - 120°F for rare
  • 130°F - 135°F for medium rare
  • 140°F - 145°F for medium
  • 150°F - 155°F for medium well
  • 160°F and up for well done. Or as I call it: burnt.
It took my 68oz steak 30 minutes to reach 120°F, which looks like about 5 minutes per lb.
Rest
Everyone agrees your meat needs a nice rest after all that hard cooking. 15 minutes covered with foil out of the oven while you make your chips.
OMG Steak!
Although the steak was fucking magnificent, I've since come across some interesting ideas for first cooking a decent hunk of beef (4lb is a decent hunk!) in the lowest possible oven until rare (110°F/43°C - 3/4 hours), resting, and only then searing in the hottest possible oven setting until crisped (6-10 minutes) just before serving.
Must give that a shot...

Mushroom Salad
salad raw veg vegan
A mushroom salad a bit like raw Mushrooms à la Grecque
This is a bit like a raw Mushrooms à la Grecque that Rachel's Dad's partner Joyce used to make. Don't overdo the garlic though - it is possible to have too much!

Serves 4

Ingredients
Method
Clean and quarter the mushrooms, shake up the dressing and mix everything together. Let the mushrooms marinate for a few hours before serving (if possible).
Not bad. Don't overdo the garlic.

Green Beans with Lemon and Capers
side veg
Hot Green Beans flavoured with lemon peel and capers
Serves 4

Ingredients
Method
Top and tail the green beans and cut them into bite-sized pieces if you prefer.
Cook the beans briefly in salted, boiling water. Drain.
Crush the capers slightly with the lemon peel and mix into the beans with the oil or butter.
Not bad. Makes a nice addition to a leftover salad for the day after too.

Deep-Fried Potato Wedges
side staple veg vegan
Quick and dirty fat chips
I used King Edwards, just because I already had some, but I'm sure Maris Piper or other chip-centric potatoes would do the job.
They're pretty tasty so allow 3-4 potatoes per person - they'll get eaten!


Ingredients
Method
Par-boil the unpeeled potatoes until they are tender, but not too soft (about 10-15 minutes).
Drain and cool them in cold water.
Cut them into quarters or sixths to make decent-sized wedges
Heat a deep pan of groundnut oil to 140°C/285°F and fry the wedges until cooked through and starting to colour but not browned.
Lift out the wedges and reheat the oil to 190°C/375°F. Fry the wedges until browned and crispy.
Shake the wedges dry and serve in a basket generously scattered with freshly-ground sea salt.
These turned out really well - it's really difficult to get chips just right if you don't (yet) have a wire chip basket, but with fewer, larger wedges you can get them out with a slotted spoon before the last ones burn up.

Steak Salad
salad main meat
Grilled steak pieces and crumbled blue cheese on a salad of watercress, red onion and tomatoes with a balsamic dressing.
Not only a tasty way of using up all your leftover steak, but healthy too.
It must be healthy - it's a salad right?

Ingredients
Method
Mix the salad ingredients, together with any handy leftover cold green beans with lemon and capers, and toss with the dressing.

Grill or roast the leftover steak, slice into bite-sized pieces or strips and scatter over the salad. Crumble the St. Agur over the top.
Pretty nice, you need to serve it pretty quickly while the steak is still a bit sizzly.
If you want you can grill the cheese on the steak too so it's all melty.

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