Rare Ribeye Steak with Polenta, Broccoli Rabe, and Spring Vegetables

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Credits: Craig Thiebaud
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I’ve mentioned this before but I’ll say it again:  ribeye is by far my favorite cut of steak.  Here, it is rubbed with a few spices, cooked rare, and then cut into strips.  Cutting the steak into strips is a great way to enjoy beef without eating a huge amount.  Instead, you get the flavor of the beef and enhance the flavor with fresh vegetables of the season.  The extra bonus about serving beef this way is that you cut down on how much you need to purchase.  In fact, in this case, a large 16 ounce steak can serve four.  I chose a simple pan cooked broccoli rabe which has a subtle bitterness to play off the sweeter corn based polenta.  The raw tomatoes add color and some acidity and the whole thing is then simply garnished with a sprinkling of raw, thinly sliced spring onions.  I finished the dish with just a touch of heated veal stock to bring a light sauce and more meatiness to the dish.  If you don’t have veal stock, you can certainly skip it all together or if you prefer, simply drizzle just a touch of olive oil over the top.  Either way, you can’t go wrong!

Ingredients:

1 Ribeye Steak (about 16 oz.)

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1 Bay leaf

2 Juniper berries

1 Tablespoon black peppercorns

1 Tablespoon dried sage

1/2 Teaspoon dried rosemary

1.5 Tablespoons fine sea salt

1.5 Cups dried polenta

1 Bunch broccoli rabe         

2 Tomatoes cut into 8ths

1-2 Spring onions, sliced very thinly

1 Cup veal stock (optional)

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Cracked black pepper

Instructions:

  • 2-4 hours prior to cooking, place polenta in a very large bowl and cover it with enough filtered water to reach about 2 inches above it.  Set aside until ready to cook.
  • 2 hours prior to cooking, take the bay leaf, juniper berries, black peppercorns, sage, and rosemary and place in a spice grinder.  Grind mixture until it reaches a very fine powder.  Remove from the grinder and place in bowl.  Combine the spices and add the fine sea salt.  Mix to combine. 
  • Rub the steak all over with the rub and refrigerate.
  • About an hour prior to cooking, remove the steak from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.
  • When you are ready to being cooking, strain the polenta reserving the water.  Add a pinch of kosher salt.  Place polenta in a pan over medium heat and slowly add the water to the pan until it becomes a bit soupy.  Stir the polenta until the starts to absorb the water and then add more water to the pan, a little bit at a time.  If you run out of water from the soaking process, simply use additional filtered water.  Continue cooking and adding water until the polenta is cooked, which will take a little less than 30 minutes.  Once done, cover and set aside.  If you have water left, reserve it. 
  • Set a cast iron pan over high heat and allow it to heat at least five full minutes.  It will begin to smoke so use your vents.  In the meantime, place the veal stock in a small pan and set it over low heat to warm through.
  • Dab the steak a bit with a paper towel to absorb some of the moisture.  Then place the steak in the preheated pan and cook on high for 3 minutes.  Turn the steak and cook an additional three minutes.  Once done, remove from the pan and place on a cutting board or rack and set aside.
  • Heat another pan over medium heat and once hot, add a touch of olive oil to the pan.  Add the broccoli rabe to the heated pan.  Add a touch of kosher salt.  There will be some splattering.  After about a minute, add a couple tablespoons of water to the pan and cook an additional couple of minutes, flipping it once or twice.  Once done, remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Cut the tomatoes into 8ths and thinly slice the spring onions.
  • Taste the polenta.  If it has seized and become too thick, add a touch of water and stir to combine.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Slice the steak into ½ inch slices (approximately)

To serve:  Ladle a bit of polenta into the center of a plate.  Place the broccoli rabe around one side of the plate.  Add a few tomato slices on the side of the plate either next to the broccoli rabe or opposite it.  Place a few slices of the steak in the center of the polenta.  If using veal stock, spoon a bit of it over the top of the polenta.  Garnish with a few of the thinly sliced spring onions over the top of the whole thing.  Serve while hot/warm.

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