Fat is flavor. Its a fact. Never was this notion so apparent to me than when I was savoring the best steak of my life. My husband and I were in Argentina. Zach discovered his favorite steak at Rio Alba in Buenos Aires - the ojo de bife, aka ribeye. Mine was waiting for me in Mendoza at the winery Tapiz. A porterhouse of all things! Far from the filet mignon I had been hunting. And, for me at least, there really wasn't any going back. It is rare that I indulge in a rich steak, but I now make a point of purchasing a ribeye. All you need is salt, pepper and a hot pan... and maybe a little bit of butter - remember fat is flavor! Top with this simple red wine sauce and it is a meal worthy of a celebratory dinner or a relaxing night at home. Just don't forget the flavor!
One look at a ribeye and you have no doubt it will be juicy and full of flavor. The marbling is beautiful and you can almost see the fat melting into itself as the steak cooks. These ribeyes are a pound each and one and a quarter inches thick. Begin by taking them out of the refrigerator thirty minutes before cooking. You want the meat to come to room temperature so you achieve a nice sear when it hits the pan without staying cool in the center, resulting in a burnt crust and a undercooked middle. Pat each steak dry with a paper towel.
Sprinkle with a generous helping of kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper on both sides. Set aside and begin to prep the vegetables for the red wine sauce.
Pan sauces are really quite simple. It just a takes a little prep ahead of time and tasting throughout to ensure the flavors are where you want them. For this sauce I kept it pretty classic - a carrot for sweetness, onion and garlic because they just always belong in my opinion, and rosemary. Dice each item and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a saute pan over medium-high. After one minute add one tbs of olive oil and one tbs of butter. You will get the flavor from the butter and the olive oil will work well with the high heat, giving the sear you are looking for instead of a burnt surface. Place the steaks in the pan and heat on each side for two minutes.
Top each steak with a tsp of butter and transfer the pan to the oven. Let cook for 7-8 minutes for medium-rare, 9-10 for medium.
Once the steaks are done, transfer them to a plate and cover with foil. They will need to rest for 10 minutes and will continue to cook just a bit while they sit. This is the perfect time to cook the sauce making the most of all the wonderful juices, olive oil and butter that is waiting in the pan!
Put the pan over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, carrot and rosemary. Finish with a pinch of red pepper flakes and one tbs of tomato paste. Stir to combine. Add one cup of red wine. Any red wine will do just make sure it is one you like. As the alcohol cooks off of the wine the flavor will concentrate and become more intense. Tonight we were drinking a tempranillo wine from Spain and it worked out perfectly - just rich enough and smooth to the finish. Turn the heat to medium high and bring the mix to a boil. Pour any juices that have collected from the steaks in and simmer until the sauce reduces by half. Add salt to taste.
Once the wine sauce has reduced by half (this should take about five minutes total) pour it through a sieve draining into a bowl. Press the solids into the sieve extracting as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids and transfer the wine sauce to a pan.
Take three tbs of butter and cut into small cubes. Add the pieces slowly and whisk with a fork as they melt into the sauce. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
Voila! A beautiful, juicy ribeye that is chockfull of flavor. The red wine sauce seeps into the crevices and is soaked up by the meat adding a lovely richness to the dish. Tonight we paired this steak with my garlic and rosemary steak fries (find that recipe here - Garlic and Rosemary Steak Fries) but it will go well with many side dishes. I cut into the steak and allow myself to be transported back to Argentina - a truly beautiful place where I learned so much about cooking. It is where I discovered the best steak I'd ever tasted and it inspired this dish. I hope you enjoy!
Continue reading for the ingredient list and step-by-step directions!
- two ribeye steaks - one pound each and one and a quarter inches thick
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- one carrot, peeled and diced
- one half onion, diced
- one clove garlic, minced
- one sprig rosemary, leaves removed and minced
- four tbs and two tsp's unsalted butter, divided
- one tbs olive oil
- pinch red pepper flakes
- one tbs tomato paste
- one cup red wine
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Take the ribeyes out of the refrigerator thirty minutes before cooking to allow them to come to room temperature. Pat each steak dry with a paper towel and sprinkle on both sides with a generous helping of kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Heat a saute pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add one tbs olive oil and one tbs butter to the pan and melt, allowing the pan to become very hot. Sear the steaks for two minutes on each side. Place one tsp butter on top of each ribeye and transfer the pan to the oven. Allow to cook for 7-8 minutes for medium-rare, 9-10 for medium. When they are finished cooking transfer the steak to a plate and tent with foil. The steaks will need to rest for 10 minutes.
Put the same skillet the steaks were cooked in back on the stove top and turn the burner to medium. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and rosemary. Finish with a pinch of red pepper flakes and one tbs of tomato paste. Stir to combine. Add one cup of red wine and turn the heat to medium high, bringing the mix to a boil. Pour any juices that have collected from the steaks in and simmer until the sauce reduces by half. Add salt to taste. Once the wine sauce has reduced by half (this should take about five minutes total) pour it through a sieve draining into a bowl. Press the solids into the sieve extracting as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids and transfer the wine sauce to a pan, set over medium heat.
Take three tbs of butter and cut into small cubes. Add the pieces slowly and whisk with a fork as they melt into the sauce. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Spoon the sauce over the steaks and serve.