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June 8, 2015

Grilled Ribeye with Rosemary Caramelized Onion Butter

You know that scene in the book/movie Holes where (spoiler alert) the boys survive on the mountain by eating a field's worth of raw onions? That's basically me right now with all these Vidalia onions, though I'm not quite at the point where I'm eating them raw. I've fried them up as onion rings, baked them in a velvety French onion tart, and turned them into a savory, spicy cheesy onion chorizo dip. However, my absolute favorite way to make them is to caramelize them and turn them into a compound butter to slather on tender, juicy steak. I pile all of that goodness onto a big plate of buttermilk mashed potatoes for the best possible summer barbecue (especially for Father's Day!).


Despite my love for Vidalia onions, I will admit that the steak is the star of the show. I prefer a nice ribeye, but this recipe works with just about any cut as long as it's one fit for grilling. This is not the time for a tougher cut of meat that needs to braise for hours. Filet, skirt, flank, T-bone, and flatiron are all good options. If you're set on burgers, you can also go that route and just slather the buns with this delicious butter.


I marinate the steak in a simple combination of olive oil, spices, brown sugar, and rosemary. I want the flavors in the butter to shine through, so I use spices in the marinade that will enhance but not overshadow it. My favorites are season salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. I also add a spoonful of brown sugar for sweetness and some rosemary to complement the butter.


You're probably wondering why I've been ranting about butter, especially on steak. My mom and sister thought I was crazy for making this dish, but it was so so so so so so so good. Melting butter on steak makes it even richer and juicier and adds a velvety texture. I'm not so obsessed that I'll melt a big spoonful of plain butter on my steak now, but a compound butter makes the steak look prettier and taste infinitely better.


The flavors I went with for my compound butter were caramelized onions and rosemary, though you could use any herbs you want and swap out the caramelized onions for roasted garlic. However, Vidalias are special extra-sweet onions grown only in the tiny town of Vidalia, Georgia, and I just had to use them while I'm here and they are in season. They caramelize beautifully, and I will happily eat them on anything. I make sure to save some for the butter, though, which just involves mixing softened butter with the onions and some fresh rosemary. It's ready to be slathered on anything from steak to portobello sliders to biscuits (just try it and you'll be hooked).


Finally, all respectable steak dinners need a starch, and here I chose buttermilk mashed potatoes. They're like regular mashed potatoes in that you peel and dice potatoes, cook them in boiling salted water until fork tender, and mash until smooth (I use a ricer), but I then add buttermilk in addition to the milk, butter, and salt after. I only substitute some of the milk for the buttermilk so it's not overwhelmingly tangy, but I've found that the buttermilk adds creaminess and flavor without all the extra calories. Of course, any other potato would go well with this dish, as would vegetables like corn, asparagus, or green beans.


When you get a bite of steak, potatoes, and butter together, the flavors harmonize to create the perfect balance of salty, savory, and sweet. I'm so excited for summer barbecues just so I can make this recipe, and hopefully you will love it just as much. It's worth splurging on, especially for Father's Day.

2 lbs Steak
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 tsp Season Salt
2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
2 T Sugar
1 T Brown Sugar
5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
4 Sprigs Rosemary
6 T Butter, Softened
4 Sweet Onions, Sliced (Preferably Vidalias)
1/4 tsp Baking Soda

Whisk the olive oil, season salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, brown sugar, garlic, and leaves from 2 sprigs of rosemary together. Toss the steak in the marinade and let sit for at least two hours.

Heat some oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook over very low heat until caramelized, about 90 minutes. When they are almost done, add the sugar and baking soda and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.

Mix the softened butter, cooled onions, remaining rosemary, and sea salt together.

Heat a grill or grill pan. Cook the steak until it reaches the desired doneness; timing varies based on cut and thickness. Serve with the compound butter.

Serves 6

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