Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Cote de Boeuf for 2 greedy people, or 3-4 normal ones

Yes, with the weather turning towards winter (whatever happened to autumn?), it is time for another bank-breaking, Potless-defying, non-budget recipe!!!

Once in a while, I say to my wife: 'Let's stay in this weekend and save some socialising/restaurant/pub/cinema money and spend that money on some really decadent ingredients to make a stunning dinner at home'. Not only does Mrs Ribeye prefer my cooking to going out (or so she says), but it means that we can source the ingredients ourselves and ensure that we have bought the very best.

Take today's dish for instance: In a normal steak restaurant, you ask for a 'big steak', and it normally comes to about 300g, along with side orders to bulk out the dish. No thanks. I want a steak, with a side order of meat, with a beef garnish - not a small lump of god-knows-what sitting next to a jacket potato, a salad and a grilled tomato, topped with fried onions and mushrooms.

So today, me and the missus splashed out on a 1.5kg (yes, you heard right) single forerib of beef with a nice cap of creamy fat. And nothing else. Oh ok, we also ate a green salad, but it was very small and insignificant.

Now, today's recipe is not really a recipe - it is really a few tips on how to handle a nice big piece of beef without messing it up, so here goes:

1. For two people, buy a single-bone 2 inch thick piece of forerib, weighing between 1-2kg. The French call it a 'cote de boeuf'. Don't know why. Don't care. I like the name.

2. Cover the steak in olive oil and season well with coarse rock salt, pepper, dried thyme, rosemary and anything else you fancy. Don't worry about the salt drying out the beef - it won't on a piece this big (if anything, it is good to dry it out a bit on the edges to ensure a crispy crust).

3. Leave the oily marinade on for a whole day in the fridge and then remove the steak from the fridge two hours before cooking to bring it back to room temperature (otherwise the cooked steak will be cold in the middle).

4, Take a cast iron skillet (like mine in the pic) or a non-stick ovenproof frying pan, and heat it on the hob for twenty (yes, twenty) minutes until it is at risk of melting into a metal goo. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 200c.

5. Cook your steak on all sides for about five minutes each side, using tongs to hold the fat cap upright onto the pan. You are looking for deep dark caramelisation all over - don't worry that you are burning it; in five minutes per side you won't be.

6. Place the pan on the bottom shelf of your preheated oven and cook the steak for 15 minutes.

7. Remove the steak from the oven and allow to rest with a light foil covering for 15 further minutes - this allows the meat to relax and the juices to re-distribute.

8. Carve the meat thickly, season again with coarse rock salt and black pepper and serve with horseradish sauce and a (light) green salad, if you really have to. I like wild rocket because it's peppery and meaty, dressed in balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

NB. All cooking times above will give you a deep blushing inner part with a charred outer crust. There is no other way to eat steak. If you like it any other way, you are a fool.

You can aim for the same effect on a bbq - and I heartily recommend it - but you do need to use the bbq for only step 5, and them remove it to the oven for step 6. There is no way of cooking this meat entirely on a bbq which will give you the inside you want.

Cost-wise, this piece of beef came to £20 at Costco - the best supermarket-style meat counter in the UK by my reckoning - which means that for four normal people, this steak is a fiver a portion. Order it at a restaurant and you're paying four times the amount - oh and you'll fill up on carbs. And they won't cook the steak exactly how you like...

A confession: Mrs Ribeye and I didn't finish the whole thing in one sitting - we ate it cold the next day too, which means that it didn't come to a whole tenner a portion for the two of us. More like £7.50 a portion - a bargain.

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