Marx Iron Foodie Challenge 2010~

3 12 2010
Iron Foodie 2010 | Here's Why that will be me:
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I have for you today, a dried porcini mushroom, tellicherry peppercorn and smoked sea salt crusted standing rib roast…

served with a jacket-baked Idaho russet potato and pan au jus.

I chose Tellicherry peppercorns, dried porcini mushrooms and smoked sea salt as my ingredients.  I like savory.  That’s just how I am.  I reach for salty chips and such.  Wasabi peas.  I love tellicherry peppercorns because I just love the aroma the bursts out of them when they’re toasted.  Toasting releases a lot of the volatile oils in spices.  The smoked salt had me from the very first second.  It was love at first bite!  I’m enchanted!  *Ü*  I wanted to use the porcini mushrooms, but I didn’t want to make a standard risotto.  I also had to keep in mind that I don’t have the best choice of ingredients available.  Not a handicap necessarily…it could be an advantage to have fewer choices!  I was leaning toward a lobster risotto but couldn’t depend on lobster availability…when it occurred to me that I’d bought a standing rib roast at Thanksgiving.  Perfect.

That’s how I make a lot of kitchen decisions.  I’m an “evaluate the pantry and then decide” kind of cook.  If my work schedule permits, I work with raw ingredients as much as possible.  I’m a scratch cook.  Many of my recipes are borne of repeating a process or a recipe so many times through  life that I simply remember how much of this or that I need and then start changing it by switching broth for milk or vice-versa.   Dishes that represent my culinary point of view will utilize what’s available at hand whenever possible;  the dishes will have an element of “you’re kidding!” simplicity; the dishes will push ingredients to a higher level or purpose; will often be me “thinking out of the box.”

The Tellicherry peppercorns were toasted in a skillet over an open gas flame, and ground in a food processor with dried porcini mushrooms, dried thyme leaves, and garlic granules.  Once the peppercorns and mushrooms achieved a powdery state, I added 1/2 tsp. of the smoked sea salt and 1 tsp. kosher salt.  I spread the mixture in a pie plate and prepared the roast for “crusting.”

I start by taking my roast from the refrigerator and letting it come to close to room temperature before I get started.  I preheat my oven to 475°-500°.  Why the difference?  I have a roasting pan that shouldn’t go into an oven higher than 475°.    Dry the roast thoroughly.  Separate the ribs from the roast (don’t if it’s a very large roast) in one cut.   Layer smashed garlic cloves between the bone and the meat and tie the roast securely so the ribs are once again “one” with the roast.  Poke small cloves of garlic between the meat and the fat as desired.  Rub the exterior of the roast with a good vegetable oil.  I used rice bran oil.

The tied and oiled roast was rolled in the crusting mixture prior to going into the oven to roast.  Our meat was started in a cast iron skillet, bones down in the skillet, at 475°.  The temperature was immediately reduced to 350° and the meat roasted until it temped 125°.   When the roast reached 125° it was removed from the oven, placed on a carving board and tented with foil to stand a bit.  Meanwhile, back at the cast iron skillet…a bit of water and a bit of wine…a bit spicy, but not too spicy.  Smoky…earthy…oh yeah.  That’s nice.  The au jus is just fine!

When it’s time to carve, the bone has already been separated, there’s no big loss of juice removing the rib bones.  The eye of the rib roast is ready to mount on the carving board, or parallel cut.  It’s so easy to carve this way!

Tasting Notes~
Did I mention how much I love Tellicherry peppercorns?  Mmmmm!  The Porcini mushrooms made a really unique crust on the rib roast.  It provided an earthiness…kind of a reminder that this is meat after all…  And the smoky salt came right on the heels of that and echoed the sentiment on the palate.  It was almost like tasting a bit of wood smoke on the breeze.  The combination of the 3 ingredients together was really fun.  Then…the au jus…  The woodsy-smoky crust of the roast gave the au jus a rustic-earthy tone that complimented the meat exceptionally well.

Thank you Marx Foods for the goodies!!  I’m enchanted!  It will be fun to use the various ingredients as “go withs” make themselves available.  It’s been an honor and a blast!