How to: Prime Rib

Buying prime rib can make you pause. It’s $30 a pound. If you have a 6 people coming for dinner that’s 1 rib per 2 people; each rib is about 2 pounds; that’s $180 before you even walk yourself over to the potatoes.
This year’s rage of throwing it in an oven hot enough to start a house fire and then turning it down and waiting for two hours with a strict instructions of not opening the oven door doesn’t work for me.
A) The oven has to have a proper seal or it’s not going to hold the temperature once you turn the oven down. B) The oven has to be the kind of clean it was before you started using it, or it’s going to smoke.
C) Who has the kind of nerves that can put $180 in an oven and hope for the best?
Not me.

The menu for my job:

Tiny crab cakes with lump crab on herb cuttings and a side of (more) crab on bruschetta.
Prime rib w/lemon, rosemary and beautiful olive oil, mashed potatoes, roasted tomatoes, onion confit and garlicky spinach
Fresh ricotta stuffed artichoke on arugula leaves
Chocolate flourless cake w/candied peanuts and cream

I love crab. When I eat it I want to eat it straight. I put only enough egg in the mix to hold it together along with the tiniest dice of shallot, a dot of dijon, a tablespoon of mayo per pound of crab and some thyme leaves. I form them into 1 inch plugs, dust them in flour and refrigerate until about 5 minutes before I need them for a quick saute in butter. Their cousin king crab is on the plate, because how am I going to resist buying big red crab legs when they’re sitting right next to the containers of lump? They don’t need anything but lemon zest, parsley, a few crushed fennel seeds, olive oil and just before serving, a squeeze of lemon juice.

The prime rib: Buy it or slice it into single ribs. Marinate in garlic cloves, your best olive oil, rosemary and lemon zest for as long as you have time for (about an hour is good.) Season w/sea salt on all sides. Sear each rib on both sides. To win you friends and lovers: stand the rib on its narrow fat layer side until it is a deep golden crusty brown. Set the oven to 425 degrees and roast for about 15 minutes. When you stick a small sharp knife into the thickest part, it should be about the same temperature as your lip. Let the ribs rest for 10 minutes before slicing into them.

Roast the tomatoes ahead of time, make the onion confit ahead of time, make the mashed potatoes ahead of time (I use yukon gold) and keep them hot in a covered bowl set over a bagna maria. Give the spinach a quick saute until almost done, but not quite. Mince the garlic and slowly, slowly saute in olive oil with a pepperoncino. When you’re ready all you have to do is toss the two together in a pan.

Braise the artichoke til nearly tender, and then stuff it w/ricotta, herbs, garlic, and lemon zest and set it under the broiler to heat the cheese and crisp the edges of the choke.

Bake the cake until it’s nearly done and then get it out of the oven. Toss peanuts with salt, sugar and butter in a pan until the sugar starts to caramelize. It will harden when it cools.


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