Taste and smell are unique in their ability to conjure up memories and make them fresh. Scientists tell us it is because our flavor receptors are directly linked to the parts of our brain associated with memory and experiences. This may be true, but Proust explained it best in his often cited but rarely read novel, In Search of Lost Time, “But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone…bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.”
A short while back a friend gave us a tin of “java” rub. When I opened it up, the smell of the coffee and spices brought me back to a long ago time when I was a graduate student. A friend had opened up a small restaurant, and for opening night had prepared a prime rib roast to celebrate the opening. Unlike traditional marinades with garlic and rosemary, she made use of coffee grounds – Hills Brothers in those days – a mixture her husband had perfected on moving to California. It’s a perfect meal for the Holiday Season, and a perfect pairing with our new releases. So give it a try, and create some of your own memories.
Roast Prime Rib of Beef with Jack’s Coffee Rub
Cooking method adapted from Lynne Curry – Food 52
1 – 5 to 6 pound boneless beef rib roast patted dry
For the Rub
2 tablespoons whole roasted coffee beans
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon sea or Kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Preheat the oven to 300.
Grind the dry ingredients in a coffee or spice grinder. Rub the entire roast with the coffee rub and place on a rack with the fatty side up. Let the roast sit at room temperature for an hour. Roast the beef until an instant read thermometer registers 115 degrees in the center. Remove from oven and tent loosely with foil. Turn up the oven temperature to 475. When the temperature is reached, uncover the roast and return it to the oven. Roast until the internal temperature reaches 130 (medium rare), about 10 minutes.
Remove roast from oven and let rest for 20 minutes. Enjoy.