Mario Batali’s Porcini-Rubbed Rib-Eye

For Valentine’s Day (YES…still backlogged!), I was charged with making dinner for Kevin and I, and wanted to make something a  little out of the ordinary.  I remember really being wowed by the porcini-rubbed delmonico that I had at a work dinner at The Capital Grille a couple of years ago.  After some googling, I found a video tutorial on how to make the porcini rub Mario Batali uses at his amazing restauraunt, Osteria Mozza.  The sugar in the rub helps develop the char and “steakhouse” crust you want while cooking, and the porcini powder adds a divine earthy flavor.

The original recipe calls for one 3 1/2 pound steak, but I decided to do two 1 pound steaks (which was still pretty aggressive). Here is a recipe as adapted from Mario Batali, Food & Wine magazine, and several gchat sessions with my dear friend Chef Seong.  I had always made steaks using a nonstick frying pan and had gotten by just fine, but for a rib-eye, I really wanted those steakhouse-style char marks. We don’t have room for a real grill, but after a number of persuasive conversations with Shirley and Spencer, I decided to buy a cast iron grill pan to try and cook these steaks with.  I also had been thinking of getting a kitchen scale for some time, and read that this compact Tanita one had great reviews. What better excuse to buy it than for weighing the porcini mushrooms for the rub!  Okay it ended up being a more expensive dinner than originally intended.

Brand New Scale
Brand New Scale

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 oz dried porcini
  • 1/2 T red pepper chili flakes
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • 2 T freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • good quality olive oil
  • Two 1 pound bone-in rib-eye steaks (about 1″ thick)

PORCINI RUB DIRECTIONS:

  1. Roughly chop the porcini, and then grind in a blender – slowly at first, and then gradually increase the speed.
  2. Add in red pepper flakes and blend to mix.  Mix salt, pepper, and sugar together and then add the porcini-chili flake mixture together.  You will have plenty of rub left over to make these steaks again – and you will want to!

RIB-EYE DIRECTIONS:

  1. Dust your rib-eye with the rub. Wrap a piece of kitchen twine around the steak, and drizzle on some olive oil and rub that in too.  The rub will turn into more of a thick paste with the consistency of wet sand.
  2. Flip the steak and repeat.  Tie a piece of kitchen twine tightly around the perimeter of the steak. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight.
  3. About 1 hour prior to grilling, remove the steak from the refrigerator.  Brush off the excess marinade paste with a paper towel (THIS IS IMPORTANT). Place on a plate and let come to room temperature.  I forgot to do this and my steak ended up pretty spicy from the chili flakes.
  4. Pre-heat a gas grill or grill pan.  If you are going to use a charcoal grill, preheat that but use enough coals to keep the fire going for about 20 minutes.
  5. Put the steak on the hottest part of the grill, cover and cook, turning every 5 minutes, for about 12-13 minutes for medium-rare doneness.  The internal temperature should be 127-128°F (thanks Seong!).  Transfer to a carving board and let it rest for 30 minutes or more.  The steak will continue to cook another 5-7 degrees internally once it’s off the grill, and if you cut into it too soon, you’ll let all of those delicious juices out.

    Almost done!
    Almost done!

Steak newb’s note:  If you use a meat thermometer, make sure the end is smack dab in the middle of the steak.  I think I stuck the point in a little too deep so it measured the temperature closer to the grill pan than it should have. Our steaks were actually a bit undercooked when all was said and done, though still tasty.

I paired these with some “smashed potatoes”.  Quick recipe is as follows: Boil a pound of small potatoes (yukon gold in my case) for 8 minutes (until fork tender) in generously salted water. After draining and cooling the potatoes slightly, brush some oil onto a baking sheet lined with foil.  After lightly crushing each potato on sheet with your palm into 1/2″ thickness, brush potatoes with oil. Roast until golden and crisp about 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet about halfway through the cooking time.

Mario Batali's Porcini-Rubbed Rib-Eye
Mario Batali’s Porcini-Rubbed Rib-Eye

For an appetizer, we had a DELICIOUS beet and burrata salad atop some prosciutto and arugula.  I found the easy recipe on The Organic Kitchen and admittedly this was more of a me dish than Kevin because it had all of my favorite things in it – roasted beets and burrata, prosciutto, and it even called for pistachios to be sprinkled on top!   And thank you Thomas for our lovely serving dish!

Beet and Burrata Salad with Prosciutto and Arugula!
Beet and Burrata Salad with Prosciutto and Arugula!

So… I probably bit off more than I could chew making everything in between work and dinner time.  I admittedly did not make the perfect steak (overspiced, undercooked), but with less ADD next time I’ll get it right.  In all it’s imperfect glory, the steak was still delicious and there were no leftovers.  Most importantly, we topped off the meal with mini molten chocolate lava cakes a la mode that I will for sure post separately about at a later time. They were too good not to!

Meatloaf “Cupcakes” with Mashed Potato “Frosting”

During the month of Leslie‘s birthday dinners, my multi-talented culinary musician friend Jason and I decided to collaborate on a home-cooked meal for everyone’s favorite munchkin.  The email chain with Leslie, Jason, Shirley, and I procured us an abundant menu of comfort food.  I picked Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting – a savory dish for a change.

Who Loves Mashed Potatoes?

For the mashed potato “frosting”, I used the recipe from SkinnyTaste.com’s meatloaf cupcake recipe.

MMM Pureed Yukon Potatoes

However, since we were already eating so heartily, I didn’t use SkinnyTaste’s meatloaf recipe.  I defaulted to my favorite Turkey and Quinoa Meatball recipe, since it pretty seamlessly incorporates quinoa and lots of veggies.

Meatloaf Cupcake “Batter”

For the potatoes, Jason did all the prep while I took forever trying to “de-leaf” the sprigs of thyme (un-de-leafable!).  The thyme added some great flavor to the potatoes as well as some color to the otherwise very beige finished product.  We pureed the potatoes in a food processor to ensure a smooth creamy finish when piping.  Yes, I piped the potatoes onto the cupcake.

“Frosting” the Cooked Meatloaf

Jason pretty much owned the roasted brussels sprouts with bacon, and even made a balsamic reduction with brown sugar drizzle to offset the saltiness of the dish.

Jason’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Drizzled With a Balsamic Reduction

Leslie, being the ever-gracious host she is, refused to let us do all the cooking and made yummy almond-crusted tilapia filets and phyllo and prosciutto-wrapped roasted asparagus.  However, Leslie’s eyes started to tear while she was chopping onions, so Tri MacGyver’d an “eye shield” for her.

Tri’s Makeshift Anti-Onion Eye Shield

Jason found a basic creme brulee recipe endorsed by Alton Brown on FoodNetwork.com, so we went with that.  After making this, I was really surprised that a lot of people didn’t know what a vanilla bean looks like and that the pulp of a vanilla bean is what is used in recipes.

De-Beaning a Vanilla Bean!

Leslie suggested adding sliced strawberries to the recipe for some extra pizzazz and color.  Solid recommendation!

Time to Torch!

Everything was set for Leslie’s birthday dinner finale!

Birthday Dinner Party!

Here’s what my first plate (admittedly, of several) looked like!

Phyllo and Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus, Almond Crusted Tilapia, Brussels Sprouts, and Meatloaf Cupcakes

It ended up being my first culinary collabo, and I would say it was a success!  The first of hopefully many to come – and sooner than you think!