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Closing in on the perfect prime rib
I am not quite sure that there is a perfect prime rib, though the one I prepared last week felt like the one. Purchase the rib eye at least five to seven days prior to roasting it. Remove the meat from its package, wash it lightly and place it in the refrigerator to age.
Traditionally, the aging process was accomplished with a fan blowing over the meat from 2 to 3 feet away. This gradually dries and ages the meat. The ambient temperature needs to be no higher than 41 degrees. This aging process alters the flavor and texture of the meat.
The last few years, I have enjoyed pairing and using ground coriander and herbs de Provence with any kind of meat. Generally, herbs de Provence is composed of edible lavender, basil, fennel and thyme. Often the lavender will influence the end result, as it enhances an aromatic and sweet finish.
As for ground coriander, which is not as popular in America, its gentle lingering spiciness enriches the meat and adds complexity.
The quality of the gravy depends on how much time is dedicated to patiently nurture it while it is cooking over low heat.
PERFECT PRIME RIB
1⁄2 cup ground coriander
1 cup herbs de Provence
Ground pepper and kosher salt, to taste
12 to 15 pounds boneless rib eye
1⁄4 cup olive oil
8 ounces butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
Ground pepper and kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine the coriander, herbs de Provence, salt and pepper and taste to make sure the flavor is balanced.
Take the prime rib out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before roasting, so it will be at room temperature. Select a roasting pan that fits the size of the prime rib.
Heavily season all sides of the prime rib with the spice mixture. Drizzle the olive oil over the meat and roast in the preheated oven for three to four hours or the equivalent of 18 minutes per pound.
For medium rare, a meat thermometer inserted in the middle should read 135 degrees. Touch the meat occasionally during roasting to determine how rare it is.
Once the prime rib is ready, take out of the oven and let it rest. It will continue to cook during this time. If you wish to let the meat's doneness to be more toward medium, cover the prime rib with aluminum foil and let it rest for an hour or two.
To make the gravy: Remove prime rib from the baking pan and let it rest.
Pour all the juices and fat from the baking pan into a large pitcher. Separate the fat from the juice and discard.
Melt the butter over low heat; gradually add the flour while stirring. Gradually add the juice from the baking pan, stirring constantly. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.
Pour a small amount of hot water into the empty baking pan, then scrape the pan to loosen up the browned bits at the bottom. That is where the real flavor is. Add the liquid to the gravy and let it cook over medium heat. Once thickened, let the gravy cool for five minutes before transferring it to a serving bowl.
Slice the prime rib before serving. Ideal accompaniments are the gravy, horseradish cream, bacon Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes.