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Prime rib, or standing rib roast, has long been a mainstay at the holiday table (where it is often paired with Yorkshire pudding, a British specialty made from the pan juices and a simple batter of flour, eggs, and milk). As it is expensive, prime rib should be handled with extra care. It is imperative that you have an instant-read thermometer for determining the internal temperature; if allowed to cook too long, the meat will no longer be a rosy pink inside, the optimal color for any high-quality roast. Remove the roast when still rare, as it will continue to cook as it rests, rising as much as 10 degrees in 20 minutes.
Rubbing meat (as well as chicken and fish) with herbs, spices and a bit of oil will add tremendous flavor. Here, the beef is coated with a mixture of bay leaves, sage and orange zest, all familiar holiday flavors. Allowing the meat to “marinate” in the rub overnight deepens the flavor even more. A similar result is achieved by simply salting the meat a day or two before roasting, whereby the salt will have penetrated the meat much like a brining solution.
Larger roasts such as prime rib, crown roast, and a whole turkey are started at a high temperature (450 degrees F) to sear the meat, then the temperature is lowered after 30 minutes to prevent the outside from burning before the meat is cooked through. The exterior won’t develop a crust right away, but the initial high heat gives the outside a head start so that it will be perfectly browned in the end.
- For the Rub:
- 15 dried bay leaves, crumbled
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh sage leaves, plus several whole leaves for garnish
- 1/2 cup extra--virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 cup finely grated orange zest (from 2 to 3 oranges)
- For the Roast:
- 1 three-rib prime rib of beef (about 7 pounds), trimmed and frenched
For the Rub: Stir together crumbled bay leaves, sage, the oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and the orange zest in a small bowl. Season with pepper. Rub herb mixture all over the beef, coating evenly. Refrigerate overnight, covered. About 2 hours before you plan to cook the beef, remove it from the refrigerator. Place beef, fat side up, in a roasting pan and allow it to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
For the Roast: Cook beef for 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into meat (away from bone) registers 115 degrees F to 120 degrees F (for -rare), about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes longer. Let rest 20 minutes.
Carve and serve Slice meat away from ribs, cutting along the bones. Then, slice meat crosswise to desired thickness. Serve, garnished with whole sage leaves.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Random House. All rights reserved.
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