There’s nothing like a prime rib roast to wow your guests during the Christmas holidays, and it’s simpler to prepare than you might imagine. To gild the lily, we serve the juicy meat with a whipped herb butter. Use European-style butter if you can find it, and be sure to bring it to room temperature for easy whipping.
Prime Rib with Whipped Herb Butter
1 standing beef rib roast, about 5 lb. (2.5 kg)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the whipped herb butter:
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme
1 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary
1 Tbs. minced fresh sage
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) (8 oz./250 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1. Pat the rib roast dry with paper towels, then season generously all over with salt and pepper. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.
2. Preheat an oven to 450°F (230°C).
3. Set the roast, fat side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Transfer to the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C) and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat, away from the bone, registers 125° to 130°F (52° to 54°C) for very rare to medium-rare, 45 to 50 minutes more, or until done to your liking. Twice during the cooking time, carefully baste the roast with the pan juices. If the roast begins to brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Transfer the roast to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, make the whipped herb butter: Carefully smash the garlic clove with the flat side of a chef’s knife, then mince the garlic. Sprinkle 1 tsp. salt over the garlic and use the knife to push the garlic into a small pile. Press and scrape the sharp end of the knife against the garlic at an angle, until a smooth paste forms. Transfer the garlic paste to a small bowl. Add the olive oil, thyme, rosemary and sage and stir to combine.
5. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter on high speed until pale and almost doubled in volume, about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the garlic-herb mixture and beat on medium speed until blended, about 1 minute. Let stand at room temperature until ready to serve.
6. Carve the roast and arrange on a warmed platter. Serve immediately with the whipped herb butter alongside. Serves 6.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen