(by Patricia Fieldsteel)
My mother began cooking prime roast rib of beef after The New York Times Food Editor Craig Claiborne published a recipe for a “perfect” roast by author, editor, and food consultant Ann Serranne: “Put it in the oven and relax.” Serranne’s method is foolproof, easy, and requires no mathematical calculations. It doesn’t need basting, sauces, gravy or other adornments, often used to disguise lesser qualities of meat. At most, ten minutes of work for the cook are involved.
A standing rib roast is for special occasions, a festive meal, with each rib holding enough meat for two servings. The better the meat’s quality, the more divine will be the results. Nothing else is required beyond salt, pepper, flour and a tightly sealed, well-insulated oven. The roast’s flavor comes from the layer of fat on top and the bones below. The fat forms a golden-brown irresistible crust—crunchy, crispy, juicy, and wickedly bursting with caloric flavor. Yorkshire pudding is an ideal side dish, and the leftover bones are great broiled and topped with butter, bread crumbs, and flat-leaf parsley for a weeknight family supper.
2 - 4 rib prime loin roast of beef, weighing 4 1/2 - 12 pounds
(Have your butcher trim and if necessary tie the ribs.)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove roast from the refrigerator 2 1/2 - 4 hours before cooking.
Preheat oven to 500 F.
Place roast in an open, shallow roasting pan, fat side up.
Sprinkle with a little flour, and rub the flour lightly into the fat.
Season all over with kosher or coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Top with a sliced onion. Roast according to weight chart below, about 5 minutes per pound of trimmed, ready-to-cook beef.
When cooking time is finished, turn off the oven, but do not open the oven door.
Let beef remain in the oven about 2 hours, or until the oven is lukewarm.
The roast will still have an internal heat suitable for serving as long as 4 hours after removing it from the oven.
Cover with tin foil while the Yorkshire pudding bakes.
If you like your meat well done, add 10 minutes to the cooking times above.
(Read Where's the Beef?, the story that accompanies this recipe.)