Thursday, December 9, 2010

Portobello Peppercorn Crusted Ribeye

Whenever I buy beef, I try hard to buy grass-fed beef.  Grass-fed beef has less total fat and saturated fat than grain-fed beef.  Not only is it lower in fat, it is lower in calories. Grass-fed beef also has more Omega 3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid, and Vitamin E, all of which are part of a healthy diet.  So, for those like me who love to eat meat, grass-fed beef is the best way to enjoy beef. 

My favorite cuts of beef are the porterhouse, N.Y. strip and the ribeye.  So, when I saw grass-fed ribeyes at my local Whole Foods, I bought one.  The general rule -- or so I'm told -- to cooking cut s like porterhouses, strip steaks and ribeyes is to use just salt and pepper, but no rubs.  The reason to forgo a rub is that you want to be able to enjoy the flavor of the beef, not the spices.  But, every once in a while, I defy convention and experiment with a rub that I think would pair well with the meat.

For this experiment, I wanted to use dried mushrooms.  You can get dried mushrooms in mushroom form or in a powder.  A mushroom powder would work fine, but I wanted to try it with dried mushrooms in mushroom form.  The next question is which type of mushroom to use.  You can use porchini, but they are a little expensive.  Dried shiitakes may be a little cheaper.  But dried portobello mushrooms are definitely cheaper and, because it would be the primary ingredient in my rub, I would need more mushrooms.  I also added a healthy tablespoon of black peppercorns , along with dried thyme, garlic powder, sea salt and some olive oil.  My plan was to make a rub that was just "wet" enough to stick to the meat and impart just enough flavor to make it interesting without overwhelming the meat.

So, with a food processor, a little time and a big grass-fed ribeye, I proceeded with my experiment and the result was ... very, very tasty.


PORTOBELLO PEPPERCORN CRUSTED RIBEYE
A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 1 (if it is me), Serves 2-3 (for everyone else)

Ingredients:
1 ribeye (between 3/4 pound to 1 pound)
1 package of dried portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of sea salt (feel free to use less)
4 tablespoons of olive oil

Directions:
1.  Grind the mushrooms.  Put the dried mushrooms in a food processor and grind the mushrooms on the food processor setting until you have as small of mushroom pieces as you can get.

2.  Add the spices.  Add the peppercorns, dried thyme, garlic powder and sea salt.  Continue to use the food processor setting to grind everything and mix everything together.  Run the food processor on pulse a few times more to ensure everything is mixed thoroughly.

3.  Add the olive oil.  Continue the food processor on the mix setting and pour the olive oil slowly.  If you are not getting a paste like rub, use the pulse setting a few times more times.  With each pulse, the mixture should absorb more olive oil.

4.  Apply the rub to the ribeye.  Take the rub and apply it liberally to all sides of the ribeye.

5.  Cook the ribeye.  Place the ribeye under the broiler.  After about eight to ten minutes, flip the ribeye.  Some of the extra mushroom rub may smoke while the ribeye is under the broiler, but that is okay.   Cook the ribeye for about eight to ten more minutes or until your desired level of doneness. 

I have to say that this experiment was a success.  The dried portobello mushrooms imparted a very earthy flavor to the steak. In addition to the mushrooms, you can also taste the pepper and the salt.  The thyme and garlic powder get a little lost in the mushroom rub, but that was okay for me.  If you truly want to taste the garlic, I would add about 1/2 to 1 additional tablespoon.   I was just happy to sit down to a nice big ribeye with a great, off-of-the-cuff rub that I was able to think up on my own. 


ENJOY!

For more about the health benefits of grass-fed beef, check out Eatwild.com.

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