When butcher Bryan Flannery said he could get us a whole dry-aged rib eye roast, we had to build a party around it. And so, we headed to the Catskills with a gorgeous bone-in rack to cook genuinely the best piece of meat I’ve ever eaten. If you’ve ever wondered why restaurant steaks taste so much better than the ones you’ve tried to cook at home, the truth is, it’s all about the basics: the best ingredients, liberal seasoning, very high heat, neutral oils, roasting, rotating, basting and resting. Oh, I almost forgot. And butter. – Jennifer Pelka
Dry-Aged Rib-Eye Steak
by Ithai Schori
Dry-aged rib-eye steaks, 4 – 8 oz per person
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh bay leaf
Fleur de sel
Marinate the steaks with grapeseed oil, garlic, and bay leaves. Pack tightly in a container and wrap with plastic wrap, and store overnight in the refrigerator.
A half hour to an hour before cooking, take the steaks out of the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature.
Heat a cast iron pan large enough to fit one steak comfortably over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Just before searing, pat the steaks dry and season heavily with salt; it should look as though it's raining salt over the meat.
When the pan is smoking hot, turn heat up to high, add enough oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan, and carefully place the steak in the pan. A nice method is to tip the pan away from you while you gently lay the steak in, so hot oil doesn't splash in your direction. Immediately rotate the steak to make sure the oil flows back under the meat to "carry the sear." Season with pepper.
When a piece of meat hits high heat, it will contract and create a concave surface over the pan, especially on large cuts of meat. Using a spoon, hold the center of the meat down so that it is seared evenly.
Once the steak is golden brown, turn over and repeat.
Transfer each steak to a roasting rack, putting the side down that was seared first, wipe out the pan, and sear the rest of the steaks.
Roast in a 350 degree oven. Every few minutes, flip the steaks to cook them evenly and avoid the bulls-eye ring that a poorly-cooked steak takes on.
After a few flips, insert a cake tester into the side of the meat. Hold it there for five seconds and check the cooking temperature: Touch the tester to the underside of your bottom lip. Medium-rare to medium will feel just warm to warm. Very fatty cuts of meat should be cooked a bit closer to medium to allow the fat to render.
When it's done, allow the meat to rest away from heat over a roasting rack for almost half of its total cooking time. Again, turn the steaks over every couple of minutes.
Just before serving, baste the steaks with brown butter. A bay leaf or any other aromatic is welcome. Allow to rest for another couple of minutes. Then, cut the steak into thick slices against the grain to serve. Finish with a bit of fleur de sel.
More videos from our feast in the Catskills
1st Course: Soft-Boiled Egg with Wild Mushrooms, Sugar Snap Peas, and Jamón Ibérico
2nd Course: Hama Hama and Blue Pool Oysters with Pickled Mustard Seeds and Charred Scallions
3rd Course: Kale Salad with Pine Nuts, Smoked Bacon, Golden Raisins and Parmesan