Reverse Seared Bone-In Ribeye with Roasted Potatoes, Radishes and Fennel
The age old question – “Which piece of steak is the best?”
You’ll usually hear replies from a similar cast of cuts like NY strip, tenderloin, ribeye or porterhouse with the occasional skirt or sirloin thrown into the mix.
I was lucky enough as a kid to be able to eat at some quality steak houses in the Washington, D.C. area. Usually it was the result of my mom or dad’s birthday that garnered me the invite to one of these white tablecloth establishments. I looked forward to these special dinners very much and always ordered the same thing, no matter what the waiter deemed to be best option.
“I’ll have the filet mignon, medium-rare with asparagus, fried onions and sides of bernaise and peppercorn (Au Poivre) sauce.” I’d balk at the option of having them serve me the petite sized, although 8 ounces would definitely have been enough for me. I wanted to take full advantage of this special night out so the bigger, the better.
I loved the texture of the filet and how great it tasted slathered in sauce options. As I carved down, slice by slice, my mouth watered until my plate was cleaned and whatever juices remained had been sopped up with a leftover piece of bread or dinner roll. I would go home satisfied and eager for the next reason to dine out.
I didn’t dabble much in high end protein through my teenage and college years as quite simply, I didn’t have the resources to do so. I roasted a lot of whole chickens paired with bags of potatoes or other starches intended to fill me up for cheap. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I even found myself able and interested in preparing steak myself.
When shopping for steak at your local grocery store, you may notice beef labeled with different quality grades and regardless of which cut you prefer, these grades are used to categorize beef based on attributes like the ratio of intramuscular fat or marbling, texture, color and maturity.
There is a large range of grades but the three most common direct to consumer grades are Prime, Choice and Select.
If your market or butcher stocks Prime, I would always suggest shelling out the extra cash for it. You’ll find this grade to be the most tender and juicy which usually also means the animal was processed at a younger age and with a high ratio of marbling and fat content. It will yield the best texture and flavor. Prime cuts represent about 3 percent of beef graded for quality.
The next best option you’ve likely seen available is Choice, which makes up around half of all graded beef. Choice is considered to be a high quality cut but is graded lesser than Prime due to moderate marbling.
The third grade is called Select which will yield the lowest fat content. These cuts will be much leaner and will contain less moisture and flavor. When cooking Select grade beef, I would suggest using a marinade or using a wet cooking technique like a braise in order to add to flavor and moisture.
One other factor to take into consideration is grass-fed vs grain-fed and there is a common misconception of the differences between the two. It is perhaps more accurate to use the terms grass-finished or grain-finished as each of these types of farming techniques involve feeding cattle a diet of grass for the majority of their lives.
Grass-finished cattle will eat a similar diet throughout their lifetimes while grain-finished cattle will change diets during the last few months before they’re processed. It’s during this time only that the cattle will add grain, vitamins and minerals to its diet which will lend the beef a sweeter flavor while grass-finishing will leave you a more earthy flavor.
My personal preference for steak cuts has changed since I was a kid and although I would still adorn my dining table in other bovine body parts, my most celebrated slice is the bone-in ribeye. The ribeye is cut from the rib primal, is rich in marbling and fat content and lends a very beefy, satisfying flavor.
Half the fat in beef is monounsaturated, which is the good kind of fat. This type of fat, like you’d find in avocado, helps reduce bad cholesterol and is high in vitamin E, an important antioxidant.
We’re going to use the reverse sear method for cooking this steak. In my opinion, this is the best way to cook a steak to ensure the doneness of your preference. I also like to sous vide a steak like this which works under the same principal of cooking the steak until the internal temperature is exactly where you want it, then searing the outside for that crusty and amazing texture steak lovers go nuts for.
If you’ve never used this method for cooking steak, all you really need is a decent digital meat thermometer. You can pick up something suitable at any grocery store or on Amazon for around $10-$20.
Our side for the steak is roasted potato, radish and fennel with a maple dijon dressing. It’s packed with flavor and will compliment the beef well and add punch.
Both radishes and fennel are good for your digestion. If you haven’t cooked much with fennel, you should! It’s one of my favorite herbs, has many applications and is really beneficial for your health as a natural diuretic, meaning it helps you pee regularly, flushing your body of toxins.
This is definitely enough for 2 people to share.
Roasted Potato, Radish and Fennel
- 1 pound baby potato – halved
- 8-10 radishs – quartered
- 1 fennel bulb – cored and sliced (tops reserved for garnish)
- 1 white onion – sliced
- 6 cloves whole garlic
- 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 bone-in ribeye steak – 10-16 ounces
- Salt and pepper
- 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/3 C dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp real maple syrup
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- Fennel tops (reserved from bulb) for garnish
Since we’ll be using the oven both for the vegetables and for the steak, we’ll start off by cooking the vegetables at higher heat first and then we’ll pop them back in the oven at the end for a few minutes before we dress them and finish the steak.
Set the oven to 425.
In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, radish, fennel, onion and garlic. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well with your hands.
Place the contents of the bowl in a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Set your timer for 20 minutes and stir the vegetables when it goes off then set it for another 20 minutes to finish.
While the vegetables are going, take the steak out of the fridge and let it come closer to room temperature. Season it liberally with salt and pepper and lay another rimmed baking sheet or wire rack over one lined in foil.
Insert your oven safe thermometer into the steak. This thermometer should allow you to keep the reader point in the meat and the digital part on your stove top or kitchen counter so you don’t need to continually open the oven to check the temperature.
When the vegetables are done, remove from the oven and keep on top of the stove.
Reduce the oven temperature to 225 degrees and place the steak in the oven.
Now we play the waiting game. This technique is very much a matter of having the steak reach the desired internal temperature. It is a nearly fail-safe method for achieving perfect results.
I always suggest serving steak medium rare. In order to produce a medium rare steak, remove the steak from the oven when the thermometer reaches 115 degrees. If you prefer your steak cooked to medium, let the temperature go up to 125. It will take about 22-30 minutes to reach this temperature. Be sure to check the thermometer often.
While the steak is cooking, make the dressing for the vegetables in a large bowl by whisking together all the ingredients except for the fennel tops.
Once the steak hits 115 (for medium-rare) remove it from the oven, turn the oven heat back up to 425 and put the vegetables back in to reheat.
Heat a cast iron on the stovetop over high heat.
When the pan is very hot, add your vegetable oil. The pan is ready when the oil starts to smoke. You’ll want to turn on your vent over the stove as you will produce a lot of smoke during this finishing process.
Season the steak again with a bit more salt and sear on each side for about 30-45 seconds or until nice and crusty on each side. Using tongs, sear the sides of the ribeye to make sure you get an even color and cook on all sides of the steak.
Remember that the steak is already perfectly cooked on the inside. You are just searing it for color and that beautiful crusty texture.
Remove the steak to your cutting board and remove the vegetables from the oven. Put the vegetables in the bowl you made the dressing in and stir to combine.
Since the steak has already been perfectly cooked, there is no need to rest it like you normally would after using other cooking techniques. The juices will have already redistributed.
You can slice the steak against the grain to portion it, or if you’re feeling really hungry, just spoon some of the vegetables on your serving place, garnish with fennel tops, drop that bad boy right on top and get to work.