We've been in Seattle for the last two weeks with my wife's family for the holidays. I think by now they think I am trying to take over their kitchen but I swear I wasn't planning on doing this much cooking while I was out here. I even had a list of things I had already cooked at home that I could keep the blog going with but they just keep having such great ideas of things to make and I just can't say no.
One of the things my mother-in-law had mentioned making early on was a Prime Rib Roast. I've always loved good Prime Rib but never tried making it for myself, probably because of the cost of a good cut of meat like that. So often, people think that you've got to find a great recipe or marinade in order for a steak or other cut of meat to taste good. However, think of the best steak you've had in a restaurant and rarely is it anything more than a perfectly cooked steak with minimal seasoning. The reason for this is really due to the type of meat you typically get in a restaurant versus what you usually buy in the store. Below is a table that explains the primary grades of beef you can typically find in the store:
USDA Prime: Prime grade beef is the ultimate in tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. It has abundant marbling -- flecks of fat within the lean -- which enhances both flavor and juiciness. Prime roasts and steaks are unexcelled for dry-heat cooking (roasting and broiling).
USDA Choice: Choice grade beef has less marbling than Prime, but is of very high quality. Choice roasts and steaks from the loin and rib will be very tender, juicy, and flavorful and are, like Prime, suited to dry-heat cooking. Many of the less tender cuts, such as those from the rump, round, and blade chuck, can also be cooked with dry heat.
USDA Select: Select grade beef is very uniform in quality and somewhat leaner than the higher grades. It is fairly tender, but, because it has less marbling, it may lack some of the juiciness and flavor of the higher grades. Only the tender cuts should be cooked with dry heat. Other cuts should be marinated before cooking or cooked with moisture to obtain maximum tenderness and flavor.
The key in buying meat is to buy the best quality that you can afford, or sometimes go without if you can't afford a better grade. A prime cut of beef makes such a big difference in the flavor and texture of your meat.
We ended up going with a Prime Ribeye Roast and it was simply amazing. It ended up getting cooked a little more than I would have liked because we were out getting some family pictures taken but the flavor and texture of the roast were perfect. The dijon creme fraiche was a perfect compliment to the meat. We paired them with Green Onion Parmesan Popovers and created an amazing meal.
Mustard-Seed-Crusted Ribeye Roast with Dijon Créme Fraîche and Roasted Balsamic Onions
adapted from Bon Appetit