When sliced thick and pink in the center, a well-marbled ribeye steak delivers a depth of meaty flavor that can only be improved with just a dab of nutty brown butter. And when paired with grilled shishitos–a chili pepper that balances spiciness with subtlety–along with a sprinkle of flake sea salt, my Ribeye Steak and Blistered Shishitos with Brown Butter recipe is fired and inspired.
I’m a ribeye man. When I crave beef, a hot flame and a bone-in, grass-fed slab of ribeye is my calling card. Oh, I’ll never turn down a porterhouse, t-bone, New York strip, or even a filet, but when I have a choice, it’s ribeye all the way.
I do enjoy experimenting with adding flavor to the outcome, but I shy away from thick, heavy barbecue-type sauces. For my money, a bit of sizzling butter is all that’s needed to guild the lily on a perfectly grilled ribeye. I’ve found that browning butter brings out nutty, smoky flavors that work deliciously well with beef, and that is the genesis of my approach in this recipe.
When I eat steak at home, I most always forego baked potatoes and other starchy sides. But I recently discovered the brittle-skinned shishito peppers, and I can attest to their flavor being a perfect compliment to steak. I’ve always said that food trends start in California and take about two to three years to reach my neck of the woods (read: sushi, poke, and acai). Such is the case with shishitos; I first tasted them a few years ago in Southern California, but I am now seeing them from time to time at my local Albertson’s and Whole Foods Market.
Shishito is a Japanese pepper—a slender, finger-sized pepper that is bright green, with a flavor profile that is mild and sweet with a hint of smokiness. What I like about shishitos is that the exterior quickly blisters on the grill, and the entire pepper (seeds and all) is edible. That said, shishitos come with a Russian roulette-type disclaimer that one out of every ten will spike with heat, but I’ve not found one yet.
The only other special consideration in this recipe is salt. I like to liberally salt my ribeyes two hours before cooking. Place them on a paper towel-lined tray, let them come to room temperature, and the long salting will cause water to leach out of the meat and concentrate the flavor. Then remove the salt (and moisture) and grill to perfect medium rare. I finish with a grind of coarse black pepper, a sprinkle of artisanal sea salt, and a generous brush of my brown butter before resting the steaks for fifteen minutes or so. Thickly carved off the bone and tossed with the blistered shishitos, I pile it up on a wooden cutting board. A bottle of Cabernet and a loaf of garlic bread are all you need.
- 4 (12-ounce) ribeye steaks, ¾ to 1-inch thick
- Kosher salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 pound (about 24) shishito peppers
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- Flake sea salt
- Liberally sprinkle kosher salt on both sides of the steaks. Place on a paper towel-lined tray and let sit at room temperature for two hours.
- In a stainless steel skillet over medium heat, add the butter and cook slowly until it begins to foam. Watch intently as the butter turns tan, then golden, then a toasted brown as you smell the nutty flavors filling the kitchen. Immediately transfer the brown butter to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
- Rinse the steaks in water, removing all salt. Using fresh paper towels, repeatedly pat the steaks dry, removing all of the moisture from the surface of the meat. Preheat a gas grill set to high (or charcoal grill), and coat the surface with of the grill grates with oil or non-stick spray. Add the steaks and cook on both sides until medium rare (130ºF internal temperature) and pink on the inside, 8 to 10 minutes. Brush the steaks with the brown butter, grind a bit of coarse black pepper over the meat, and lightly sprinkle with finishing sea salt. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
- Meanwhile, add the shishito peppers to the grill and carefully watch as they blister on all sides, about 3 minutes. As they just begin to blacken in spots, remove them.
- For serving, slice all the steaks into long, thick strips and toss in the center of a cutting board with the shishitos and let the juices mingle with the peppers. Brush with a bit more brown butter and serve immediately.
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