Alex Guarnaschelli's Special Weeknight Dinner: Seared Rib-Eye with Maître d'Hotel Butter


Alex Guarnaschelli is an Iron Chef, Food Network celebrity chef, author of Old-auchool Comfort Food and the executive chef at New York City’s Butter restaurants. Read her blog every Tuesday to get her professional cooking tips, family-favorite recipes and personal stories of working in front of the camera and behind the kitchen doors. Follow her on Twitter at @guarnaschelli.

There is really little better than this recipe. It doesn’t take many ingredients to make some steak and butter look good. In place of the rib-eye, I have also used this method with a bone-in strip steak and with a porterhouse.

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It’s definitely not a weekly routine but this can be the kind of splurge that makes a weeknight dinner super special. If you can, make the butter in advance and slice it into rounds in advance so you can concentrate on broiling the steak and not worry about the other details.

Because it can be costly, the steak can’t wait around for any side dish to be ready. I love a simple bowl of roasted potatoes with herbed sour cream on the side sitting on the table, warm and waiting for that steak to emerge from the broiler.

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I also love a simple romaine salad with a bright vinegar dressing. Try some roasted parsnips with lemon a quinoa salad, rice pilaf or some baked sweet potatoes. Anything works with a cut of meat this tasty. The butter and steak drippings also make any grain or vegetable look good!

Seared Rib-Eye Steak with Classic Maître d’Hotel Butter

Serves: 2-4

5 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, divided

½ cup minced shallots

Coarse sea salt

1 tsp. green peppercorns

1 tsp. smooth Dijon mustard

½ tsp. lemon juice plus a few grates of lemon zest

1 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1 tbsp. chopped parsley

1 bone-in rib-eye steak, about 2½ lb. and about 2½ inches thick

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Make the butter: In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and add the shallots. Season with salt and cook until they are translucent, 3-5 minutes. Transfer the shallots to a medium bowl. Add the green peppercorns, mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk to blend so all of the flavors start to meld together. Use a fork to blend in remaining butter. Season with salt to taste and stir in the parsley. Roll the butter into a cylinder (like cookie dough) (about 1½ to 2 inches in diameter) in plastic wrap. Refrigerate.

2. Cook the steak: Heat a cast iron skillet large enough to hold the steak until it begins to visibly smoke. Use a kitchen towel to blot any excess moisture from both sides of the steak and season with salt and pepper. If the pan is getting really hot season one side, drop that side in the hot pan and season the second side as it is searing. Shut the heat off underneath the skillet and use a pair of tongs to place the steak squarely in the pan. Raise the heat high and brown on the first side, 3-5 minutes. Resist the temptation to move it as it cooks. Lower the heat and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes. Turn it on its second side and brown for 3-5 minutes. Lower the heat and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes. Stand the steak up on the edge with the fat cap, prop it so it sits upright using the edge of the pan for support, and brown for 3-5 minutes. Lower the heat and allow the steak to cook for an additional 3-5 minutes on each side.

3. Slice the maître d’hotel butter into ½-inch rounds and remove any plastic from the exterior. Set aside.

4. Testing for doneness: The simplest way to check for doneness is to make a small incision by the bone in the thickest part of the steak. It should be a little less cooked than you would like to allow for carry over cooking and the finishing touch of running the steak under the broiler. For rare, a 2½-inch steak can take anywhere from 25-35 minutes to cook. Add about 4 additional minutes for medium rare and 4 additional for medium. If using a meat thermometer, rare registers between 125-130°. For medium rare, 130-135° and between 135-140° for medium.

5. Broil and devour the steak: Remove the steak from the pan and set aside 10 minutes to rest. Cut into slices but gather the slices back together so the steak looks cut and yet reassembled. Transfer the whole thing to a heatproof platter, including the bone. Top the steak with a single layer of the butter slices, put it under the broiler for 30-45 seconds or until the butter softens and serve immediately. Garnish with thyme, if desired.

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