I've been hinting at sharing this recipe for a while now. Finally I can share it - because I have had a breather and can transfer a few photos and write it up for you. Thanks for recent patience, as I've had a light stream of information for you - I expect a solid resurgence in the next weeks as a major non-cooking project wraps up.
Long ago I started making a Cajun rubbed strip steak - chili, thyme, cayenne, garlic, olive oil, maybe a few other things. Our friend Arnie called it the 'best steak he ever had' and asked for it every time we got together. Other people like it too.
However, when I saw this recipe in Mario Batali's Babbo Cookbook, I was a little more impressed with his call for 2-inch thick ribeyes than I was the seasoning. I also was dismayed to see the instruction calling for wrapping the crusted steaks in plastic and letting them sit overnight in the fridge. I was going to eat steak an hour or two later no matter what.
I created the rub, stored on steak in the fridge for the next day and the other after about an hour of marinating time. A side-by-side comparison would be interesting.
The result? As they repeatedly say on The Bachelor, AMAZING. The sugars, garlic and spiciness were out of this world. The flavor of the dried porcinis came through nicely. It was, perhaps, the best steak I'd ever made.
Only there were two things I didn't do. The first batch of steak didn't sit overnight, nor did I use a 2 inch thick steak, as you can tell from the picture above.
Thing 1: The next day I opened the refrigerator and immediately was punched in the face with the earthy smell of porcini. The second batch of thin steaks was remarkably better than the first. Noticeably better, remarkably better, no doubt even better.
Would two inch steaks make a difference? A few weeks later there was a sale on boneless ribeye, so I had the guy at the meat counter cut me four 2-inch thick steaks. See above how they dwarf my big chef's knife?
Thing 2: Oh yeah. You WANT to find a 2-inch ribeye, put this rub on it and grill it the next day.
Side note - By the third time I made this dish I ran out of porcini and tried dried shitake. Don't bother. If you don't have dried porcinis to grind up, just use the rest of the ingredients and reduce the olive oil by a tablespoon.
Batali's Porcini Rubbed Ribeye
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
5 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
4 tablespoons dried porcini mushrooms, ground
- In Houston, the Specs Liquor downtown superstore has good quality dried porcinis at a fair price.
4 tablespoons olive oil
A 28 ounce ribeye steak, cut 2-inches thick
- Grind dried porcinis in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. use the grinder for whole black peppercorns separately. Add all remaining ingredients and combine.
- Spread the rub evenly on all sides of the steak(s). Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for 24 hours.
- Grill the steak over high heat for 5 minutes per side, including standing the steak on edges - about 20 minutes total cooking. You can / should use an instant read thermometer to measure internal temperature - get to 125 for medium rare.
- Let steak rest for 10 minutes after cooking.
- Serve with a drizzle of good quality balsamic vinegar.
I encourage you to buy the Babbo Cookbook. Some dishes are involved and excotic. But as you can tell from this recipe, some are out of this world, and not too difficult at all.