There are a lot of recipes out there for “Easy Weeknight Meals” or “30 Minute Wonders” or basically anything in the Rachel Ray canon that will show you how to pull together an easy dinner in a relatively short amount of time, with minimal effort beyond a little chopping and stirring. I think these are wonderful ideas, and there are many weeknights where I’m happy to use recipes of that sort, or even better, reheat the leftovers of the previous night’s meal.
Sometimes, though, especially on days when I have the time, I’m looking for more of a “project”. I want to spend a few hours on a chill Sunday putting a little effort into my dinner. I want to take the time and go through some steps, and at the end of it I want to feel (hopefully) relaxed, or at the very least, accomplished. If the idea of a few hours of focus on one recipe doesn’t sound relaxing to you, that’s ok, but maybe you just want to feel instead like you learned something or crafted a meal that is “gourmet”. The point is the process as much as the result, to enjoy the act of cooking itself, and to treat yourself with a dinner that is comforting, calorie-full and special ahead of the tough work week to come.
We can worry about our arteries on Monday.
For our first Sunday Supper, I’m starting us all off with a dinner that is actually pretty light on effort, but does take some prior planning and care. It's worth it though, for a result that is delicious, buttery, and meaty, and definitely not heart-healthy. It's also perfect cozy, "now that it's fall" food.
(Oprah voice) It’s a steeeaaaaak!
If I’m remembering correctly, I’ve only made a steak on this site a couple times, once shoved into a potato and the other time garnishing a salad. I have tried to convince you to try out a vegetarian steak night, but I’ve never thrown up a massive slab of beef and called it dinner.
But I’m doing it now!
Here, for your dining pleasure, is the biggest rib eye I could find, salted with love, sprinkled with mushroom dust and then buttered with abandon in a hot skillet until burnished and sizzling, then rested to tender, mouthwatering perfection.
I mean, HELLO. This screams Sunday night on the couch with a side of baked potato and red wine, does it not?
Let me assure you though, I may be talking about a large hunk of meat here, but it is intended to serve multiple people. We are not out for steak night on company per diem, ok?
Did I once however, this year, eat an entire steak this size in one sitting? Perhaps, but that is between me and my cholesterol levels. The silver (plaque) lining for my arteries though is that that meal inspired this very steak for YOU.
And then, because why have a metabolism if you aren’t constantly daring it to work for you, I tested this recipe to near perfection a couple more times. I may have a heart attack, but you get a shiitake crusted rib eye out of it.
Considering how easy this steak is to prepare and cook, it really took me a while to nail down the recipe. At first I thought I should sear and then also roast to finish, before realizing I wasn't working with a two-inch thick rib eye like so many recipes call for, nor am I likely to even find that at my local grocery store (I'm sure my favorite butcher shop could cut that for me and offer it dry-aged as well, but sometimes I like some of my money to stay in my pocket). So, with a little hint from the Bible, a.k.a. The Food Lab, I adjusted for the more easily found 1-1 1/2 inch thick cuts, and wow, the results were so much better, and wonderfully, require fewer dishes and therefore less cleanup.
You might be able to tell from the photos that I still haven't quite dialed into the perfect cooking time for medium doneness. However, I'm sharing this recipe anyway because I suspect that the proper cooking time has a lot to do with what "medium low" means for your stove and how long you want to cook your meat for (and whether you possess an instant-read thermometer), so let's all embrace the learning curve and jump in, shall we?
Shiitake Crusted Pan Seared Rib Eye
Cooking technique adapted from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. He calls for 2 steaks to serve 4, but I got 4 meals out of this one for myself, so I'm only calling for 1 steak here. Adjust according to your own appetite.
- One, 1-1 1/2 inch thick bone-in ribeye, about one pound (try to find the thickest cut you can)
- kosher salt, for seasoning and 1/4 tsp for spice mix
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbs shiitake powder (or any other ground mushroom powder you like)
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
- 3 large cloves garlic
- a handful of thyme sprigs
- 1/2 stick of butter (4 tbs)
- balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
- flaky sea salt, for garnish
- Pat steak dry with paper towels and generously season with salt and pepper on all sides, including the edges. Let rest at room temperature for at least 45 minutes, or better yet, on a rimmed baking sheet, uncovered, in the refrigerator overnight.
- When ready to cook, mix together your spices and shiitake powder with 1/4 tsp salt and rub all over the steak. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron is best here) over high heat until just smoking. Gently lay the steak in the pan away from you so you don't splash yourself with hot oil. Cook for about 4 minutes, flipping as much as you like, until both sides start to form a crust. Flipping frequently helps keep the mushroom mix from burning. If things start to get too smoky you can lower the heat to medium-low.
- If you haven't already lowered the heat on your pan, lower it now to medium-low and the add the butter, thyme and garlic to the pan. Continue flipping the steak occasionally, and, using a spoon, baste the steak with the butter as it gets infused with the herbs and garlic and begins to brown, about 5-6 minutes more for medium (if you don't want to guess, use an instant-read thermometer and cook to 120 degrees for medium-rare and 130 degrees for medium). Transfer steak to a plate or cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Reheat the butter and drippings in the pan, and drizzle over the steak with your spoon to re-crisp it a bit. Slice up the steak, and to serve, drizzle the slices with a little balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.