Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Prime Rib & Asiago Broccoli n' Potato Gratin

First, an announcement! My cooking cohort of the last 7 or so years and I are competing in SF Food Wars' Amuse Brunch battle this coming Sunday. Basically, we are supposed to create an awesome brunch dish distilled down to a few bites. I will be baking mini San Francisco sourdough & chive English muffins, while the Divine Miss M (as I shall refer to her) will be whipping up some hollandaise and bacon (will it or won't it be Canadian?). There will also be heirloom tomatoes and capers involved. I am ultra excited about this as I have never entered a food competition before. Plus, Wild Yeast is competing, and her blog was amongst those that helped me as I learned to bake bread a few months back. Foodie fangirl, indeed.

While I am sure to be busy, busy, busy, I will try to take as many photographs as possible, steal a taste of my competitors' fare for review, and eventually share our recipe with all of you. I might even regale you with tales of the delicious Dim Sum, crab and baked goods I plan to eat. I know, be jealous. It's okay.

Moving on, tonight's dinner came from a place of lackluster inspiration and some produce that desperately needed to be eaten. I've been busy this past week--I volunteered with Legal Aid helping out homeowners who were scammed by loan modification 'businesses'; I took on a pro bono client whose case requires me to hunt down someone who has used 20 variations of her first name in the past; and I seriously just spent 4 hours at a salon in Koreatown to get my hair straightened. So, between the law and noxious chemicals, I'm a bit tired.

My expertise was focused on the side dish this evening, which is cheesy and delicious. I wish someone hadn't eaten the bacon, as that was supposed to be mixed into the sauce. Regardless, my mom didn't frown at the green on her plate. Getting her to eat vegetables can occasionally be equated to trying to do the same for a six year old. My dad, however, is head chef when it comes to the cooking of beef in this house. We don't eat much of it, but we do enjoy a good prime rib now and again. Prime rib is one of those cuts of beef whose deliciousness relies primarily on the quality of the meat as opposed to the seasonings used. My old man, who was not too compliant when I was taking photos, has shared the following tips on how to pick out a good chunk of beef and how to maintain that goodness:

1. The old man says you want the small end of the roast. The small end has a better ratio of meat to fat (the eye and the lip). If you aren't sure what you've got, ask your butcher.

2. The eye of your prime rib is that nice big oval of flesh up there. The lip is the fat. You want some lip, but not a lot, because you're basically paying for fat. Do not cut off the lip when preparing your roast, as it seals in moisture and keeps your meat tender.

3. You're going to want to purchase either Choice or Prime meat. These two grades have more marbling--the streaks of fat--in the eye. This makes your meat juicier and more flavorful. If you need guidance, compare Select with Choice or Prime and you'll see the difference.

4. Your roast will rise approximately 10 degrees in temperature when you take it out of the oven. Stick to the temperatures given below or you risk an overcooked piece of beef. That would be sad.

How to Cook a Prime Rib a la BB's Dad
1. Grab your dear prime rib and get it to room temperature. "Fluff" it up, which I suppose means you should sort of pat it with your hands so it isn't as compressed.

2. Preheat your oven to 325F.

3. Mince a bunch of garlic.  Even my mom, who isn't as much of a garlic lover as my dad and I, likes a lot of garlic on her rib roast.

4. On the top of your roast, use a sharp knife to poke some holes. Stick knife in and turn. Do this maybe 6-7 times on the top. Then take garlic and push it down the holes. This helps get that flavor on the inside.

5. Pat some garlic on the ends and bottom. Then season with some kosher (or sea) salt and pepper. My dad like's Lawry's seasoning salt, so if you have a favorite spice mix for steak, go for it.

6.  Line a metal pan with tinfoil for easy cleanup. We hate cleaning up meat drippings from the bottom of the pan. Then place your roast in the pan. No rack needed.

7. Stick in your meat thermometer. We have something akin to this, which means we can set it for the right temp and move on with our lives.

8. You're looking for it to hit 125F for medium-rare; 135F for medium; 145F for medium-well. Time is about 20 minutes per pound.

9. Let rest for 10 minutes. Then slice and serve.

Asiago Broccoli and Potato Gratin (Serves 6-7)
1 lb. yukon gold potatoes
2 heads of broccoli
1 green onion
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 cup asiago cheese
1/2 cup parmesan
salt & pepper

1. Slice your potatoes into 1/4 inch pieces. Place in pot with water and let boil. About five minutes after the water begins to boil, the potatoes should be tender. Remove from heat and drain. Sprinkle with salt.

2. Chop your broccoli up into florets and steam it. I am of the mind that broccoli should be washed, placed in a bowl with about 1/2 an inch of water on the bottom, microwaved for 2-3 minutes and then drained. Perfectly easy, one dish.

3. Heat a pan on medium heat and line with cooking spray. Sauté your onion for about two minutes. Then cover in the flour. Yes, I said cover in the flour. I know, it seems weird, but just do it.
While doing this...                                                                    Do not do this.

4. Slowly pour in your milk while simultaneously whisking. Continue whisking until any lumps are gone. Beware, some of those lumps are probably onion.

5. Keep covered and occasionally stir for about 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. You may need to turn up your heat to get a bit of a simmer going.

6. Add in the asiago cheese, green onion, and salt and pepper to taste. If you want to be awesome, add in some pre-cooked bacon here.

7. In an 8x11 pyrex dish, lay down your potatoes. Cover with half of the sauce. Move the sauce around to get as good of a coverage as possible. Then add a layer of broccoli. Cover with the rest of the sauce. Use a spatula to press down and move sauce. Then sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

8. Place in oven preheated to 350F for approximately 25 minutes. Then turn on your broiler for approximately 5 minutes for a nice shade of brown.


Lawyer Loves Lunch said...

Good God, I love gratins! This one looks particularly awesome. Good luck this weekend- lawyers represent! :)

ladyberd said...

The broccoli makes it healthy, right? looks delish - I'll have to give this one a try!

The Duo Dishes said...

That gratin would hit the spot right about now.

Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron said...

omg!! how exciting! Don't forget to post pics and keep us updated. This prime rib looks amazing!

The Cilantropist said...

Good luck this weekend, can't wait for an update with your trophy. :)

Shree said...

Love the gratin.. the prime rib looks phenomenal!

Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron said...

Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I'm giving you a Sunshine Award. Your blog has inspired and motivated me! I hope you enjoy the award. You can check out the rest of the recipients here

Good luck in SF!

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