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| Christmas this year turned out to be a modest but filling affair. The Canadians had other plans for the day, and at the last minute Rafe called in sick. I should have called in sick as well, but I was the host. What's a host to do? In a word, our table for six shrank to a table for three.

But never mind! More rib-eye roast for the rest of us!

I've always been perplexed by the challenge of roasting the roast just enough -- not too little so it ends up basically rare, or too much so that it becomes overcooked shoe leather. For some time now I've followed the strategy of starting the roast at high temperature for a period of time, then turning the oven down to let it finish low and slow. But there's always uncertainty and one is dependent on the reliability of an instant-read thermometer.

This year, however, I happened onto an article that reduced the uncertainty. Guaranteed to produce the perfect medium-rare roast every time. The secret, so it said, is to take the exact weight of the roast, multiply by 5, and then round off to a whole number. That is supposed to be the number of minutes at a screaming high temperature (500°). In my case, that is impractical because it always sets off all the smoke detectors, so I start the roast at 475°. Then, according to the recipe, turn off the oven and let the roast be for two hours. Take it out and it will be perfect.

I intended to follow these instructions, but I found that the oven did not retain enough heat and toward the end of the two hours, the internal temperature of the roast began to drop. So, I went back to my old method of setting the oven at 225° for the low and slow part.

Right on cue, the roast was done, and when I carved into it after a proper rest, it was, indeed perfect. A nice crust on the outside, then uniform pink throughout. Clearly the best roasting job I've ever done. I think the key is to time the period of high heat according to the size of the roast! That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I also made a sinfully cheesy version of scalloped potatoes with four cheeses and lots of heavy cream. What's not to like?

In the end, we dined sumptuously.

Bob and Real at table
Réal and Bob confront their plates

Last updated on Dec 31, 2019

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