Spice-Crusted Rib-Eye Steaks
Why this recipe works: What’s better than a perfectly seared rib-eye? One where a generously spiced crust encases the rich, rosy meat. We tout the versatility of spice rubs, but there are cases when they require attention: They can burn if they’re in contact with smoking heat for a while, or they can fall off during cooking. We wanted a nice sear on our spice-crusted steaks, but that requires pan-searing; we got around the burning issue by continually flipping the steaks, thus ensuring that each side was exposed to the heat in short intervals. We found that this technique had another advantage: It resulted in incredible steaks that were evenly cooked from top to bottom without an obnoxious gray band of meat—win-win. We didn’t pat the steaks dry before applying the seasoning blend (as most recipes say to do), so the moisture from the meat acted as a glue to help the spices stick. For even more insurance, we cooked in a slick nonstick skillet, and we used a fork to flip the steaks, rather than tongs or a spatula, which could dislodge the spice coating. The coating on these rich steaks was firmly in place, but it had to taste good, too. Aromatic rosemary, coriander, and lemon zest combined with pungent dry mustard, peppercorns, and pepper flakes for a fragrant rub that also packed a punch.
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked (see below)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 (1-pound) boneless rib-eye steaks, 1 1/2 inches thick, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Combine rosemary, peppercorns, salt, coriander, lemon zest, mustard, and pepper flakes in a bowl. Sprinkle steaks on all sides with spice mixture, pressing to adhere. (Use all of spice mixture.)
Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Add steaks and cook, flipping steaks with fork every 2 minutes, until well browned and meat registers 120 to 125 degrees F (for medium-rare), 10 to 13 minutes. Transfer steaks to prepared rack and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice thin and serve.
How to Crack Peppercorns
Cracked peppercorns should be about half the size of whole ones. In some elegant applications, when the texture of the pepper is of supreme importance, we’ll sift the inevitable dusty matter through a fine-mesh strainer and discard.
To crack, rock bottom edge of skillet over 2 tablespoons peppercorns on cutting board until they crack; repeat.
Reprinted with permission from “Spiced: Unlock the Power of Spices to Transform Your Cooking” by America’s Test Kitchen, copyright 2019. Published by America’s Test Kitchen.