Eric Akis: Prime rib is ideal summer steak

Eric Akis

My wife and I don’t eat steak very often, but in the summer when we do, we most often choose a tender, juicy one large enough to serve two that I’ll grill on my barbecue.

Our favourite beef cut in that regard is prime rib steak, which supermarkets sometimes simply call a rib steak. In some fine restaurants, when well trimmed, this cut is also called a bone-in rib eye steak.

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Prime rib is a tender, primal cut from the upper, rib section of the animal. When cut between each bone, you end up with large steaks that can easily serve two and may yield leftovers, depending on the weight of steak and size of your appetite.

The steak used in today’s recipe was about four centimetres thick and weighed 750 grams, with some of that weight being bone, of course. You are most likely to find a steak that size in a local butcher shop, or in a supermarket where they do some of their own butchery and can cut customers a steak that size.

I like to let the steak sit out at room temperature at least an hour before grilling it. Doing that takes the “chill” out of it and ensures the steak will be warm in the middle, even if cooked rare.

To check for doneness, I’ll insert an instant-read meat thermometer through the side of the steak into the centre of the thickest part of the meat. When ready, a rare steak will be about 120 to 125 F, medium-rare will be 125 to 130 F, and a medium steak will be 135 to 140 F. The thick steak will cook a bit more once off the heat and left to rest a few minutes before being sliced and served.

In today’s recipe, I served the steak with Italian-style salsa verde. This piquant green sauce blends such things as capers, parsley, garlic, anchovies and olive oil. It’s a combination of tastes that will richly complement the flavour of the steak.

To round out this summer meal, you could serve the steak with a tomato salad and boiled miniature potatoes.

Prime Rib Steak for Two with Salsa Verde

This is a tender, thick, juicy steak served with a piquant, summer-green sauce rich with Mediterranean-style flavours.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: Depends on desired doneness, (see method)

Makes: Two generous servings

For the salsa verde

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 Tbsp capers, finely chopped

2 anchovy fillets, minced

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed

• salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine parsley, capers, anchovy, garlic, mustard and vinegar in a bowl.

Slowly mix in the 1/4 cup olive oil, adding a bit more if you would like the salsa verde to be a bit thinner.

Season the salsa verde with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate salsa verde until needed. It can be made many hours in advance. Let the salsa verde warm at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.

For the steak

1 (1 1/2- to 1 3/4-inch thick, about 750 gram) prime rib steak

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Set steak on a plate and let warm at room temperature one hour. Pat steak dry with paper towel, and then brush each side with olive oil.

Sprinkle and season the steak on both sides with salt, pepper and smoked paprika.

Preheat your barbecue to medium-high, about 450 F in the chamber. Grill the steak 10 to 12 minutes, turning it occasionally, or until the desired doneness is achieved.

Set steak on a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest five minutes, before slicing and serving with the salsa verde.

Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks, including seven in his Everyone Can Cook series. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.

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