If we had to choose a poster child for taking the anxiety out of entertaining, it would be cookbook author and Brooklyn neighbor Alison Roman, a columnist for both Bon Appétit and The New York Times (where her viral chickpea stew and chocolate chunk shortbread cookies broke the internet). Alison’s newest cookbook, Nothing Fancy, is dedicated to the idea that hosting friends is a gesture of generosity that needn’t freak you out, bankrupt you or take over your whole week. As she says, “Invite friends over first. Figure out what you’re making later.”
Below, check out her recipes for a rib roast that even a beginner can cook and the yummiest roasted carrots.
1. Sticky Roasted Carrots
“Roasted carrots are sweet enough that they don’t really need much help in that department, but I still like adding maple syrup or honey when roasting because to me, more is more. (Plus I love how they get all shiny and sticky.) The perfect thing to do here is to channel the power of excellent PB&J and smear a bit of seasoned nutty tahini sauce (the peanut butter, naturally) on the bottom of the plate, then eat those sticky carrots with some jammy, roasted citrus slices (the jelly, of course). To keep things decidedly savory, the carrots are also roasted with red onion that’s taken a bath in lemon juice, because the only thing better than a roasted onion is a roasted pickled onion.” – Alison Roman
Recipe: Sticky Roasted Carrots with Citrus and Tahini
– 1 small or ½ medium red onion, peeled and cut into ½-inch wedges
– 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice, plus more for seasoning
– Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 2 bunches small carrots (about 1 pound), tops removed, scrubbed, quartered lengthwise
– 1 small, unpeeled blood orange, tangerine, or lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
– 4 chiles de arbol, lightly crushed, or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
– 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or honey
– ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
– ¼ cup tahini
– 3 tablespoons water
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Toss the onion and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and let sit 8 to 10 minutes to lightly pickle.
3. Drain the onion, discarding the liquid. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the onion with the carrots, orange, chiles, maple syrup, and olive oil.
4. Roast, tossing occasionally until the carrots and the citrus slices are totally tender and caramelized at the ends, 25 to 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, combine the tahini and water in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.
6. Spoon some of the tahini sauce on the bottom of a large serving platter or plate and top with the carrots, onion, and citrus. Serve extra tahini sauce alongside.
DO AHEAD: Carrots and citrus can be roasted a few hours ahead, kept loosely wrapped until ready to serve (no need to reheat). Tahini sauce can be made 1 week ahead, kept in a sealed container and refrigerated.
2. Low and Slow Rib Roast
“Here is a great dinner party trick: Invite some people over for dinner. Don’t stress out about all the things you’re going to make; instead, focus all your emotional and financial efforts on one, glorious thing. Say it’s a very large piece of slightly fancy red meat. Season it aggressively, love it passionately, and cook it perfectly at a low and gentle temperature. Do all of this before anyone gets there. Perhaps throw a few russet potatoes into a very hot oven to bake while you wait for everyone to arrive, because they’ll only set you back about $4 and baked potatoes are amazing. Throw together a very quick salad of maybe just some spicy leaves and a handful of herbs, but don’t dress it with lemon just yet. Watch everyone file in and fill your home with the wine they brought. Pour yourself a glass! You deserve it.
When you’re ready, take the baked potatoes out of the oven, ask someone to prepare some fixings for said potatoes (like opening a tub of sour cream). Finish your perfectly cooked meat by browning it in a skillet (or that very hot oven). Don’t even bother to let it rest, because it doesn’t need to (thank you, “Reverse Sear!”*). Carve your insanely impressive piece of meat (be sure everyone sees you doing this), and then, last, dress your salad. Eat all these things together and feel happy that you did something nice for people you love by preparing them a fancy cut of meat in your own home, where the only price of admission was a bottle of wine. And the dishes—they have to do the dishes.” – Alison Roman
Recipe: Low and Slow Rib Roast with Rosemary and Anchovy
– 7- to 7½-pound whole bone-in rib roast (about a 3-bone roast), not frenched
– Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
– 1 tin or jar of anchovy fillets (about 10 anchovies), plus more for serving (optional)
– 8 garlic cloves, finely grated
– ¼ cup olive oil
– 1 tablespoon canola oil
– 1 cup fresh parsley, tender leaves and stems, finely chopped, plus more for serving
– Flakey sea salt
1. Season the meat with salt and pepper (you want 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound). Place on a rimmed baking sheet (preferably lined with a wire rack so that the meat does not sit directly in the liquid that escapes from salting, and let it sit at least 1 hours at room temperature or up to 48 hours refrigerated).
2. Meanwhile, finely chop 2 sprigs of rosemary and about 10 anchovies and combine in a medium bowl with the garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
4. Scatter the remaining 4 sprigs of rosemary on the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet. Smear the meat with the anchovy mixture and place on top of the rosemary. Place the whole thing in the oven and let it roast low and slow until a meat thermometer reaches 110°F (for medium-rare) when inserted into the deepest part of the meat, 2 to 2½ hours. Remove from the oven (the temperature will continue to rise as it sits—you’re looking for an eventual 125°F temperature). Let it hang out for up to 4 hours at room temperature.
5. When you’re ready to eat, heat canola oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is smoking, add the meat, fat side down. Cook, pressing lightly to encourage the whole underside to make contact with the skillet, until it’s deeply browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Flip the roast so that it’s fat side up and remove from heat. (Alternatively, increase the temperature to 500°F, or however high your oven goes, and cook the roast until the fat is browned, 10 to 15 minutes—this is easier, but your fat will never get as browned and you’ll miss out on pan drippings.)
6. Transfer the meat to a cutting board, leaving any juices behind.
7. Slice the roast away from the bones (see Note). Slice the roast however you please; I like mine on the thinner side, about ¼ inch slices, but some prefer thinner (like roast beef) or thicker (like prime rib). Place the slices on a large serving platter and pour over the juices and parsley left behind. Sprinkle with flakey salt and parsley, serving with more anchovies alongside, if you like.
DO AHEAD: Roast can and should be seasoned up to 48 hours in advance. It can be roasted 3 hours ahead, left loosely covered with foil at room temperature, just like they do at all the best prime rib restaurants.
NOTE: Save these bones! Either separate them and eat as-is, crisp them in the oven, or use to make broth.
*The Reverse Sear
Here’s a little pep talk if you’re considering any seemingly intimidating recipe involving a large cut of meat: Do not be nervous, for the Reverse Sear is here to help. What’s a reverse sear, you ask? Instead of taking a piece of meat and searing it, then transferring it to the oven to finish cooking, you start by cooking it low and slow in the oven, and once it’s achieved the perfect internal temperature (125°F for medium-rare), you sear it stovetop (or brown in an aggressively hot oven), then slice and serve. No resting, no worrying, no outer ring of well-done meat. I was skeptical of this cooking technique myself, wondering if it really was better or just new—until I tried it and became convinced that it was, indeed, the easiest and most foolproof way to cook a large-format cut of meat. Here’s why:
1. Think of the time in the oven as additional seasoning time. Whatever you’re rubbing the meat with (be it simply salt and pepper or this delicious garlicky anchovy mixture) has even more time to marinate.
2. As the meat roasts low and slow, the fat begins to render, which makes crisping up the meat at the end much easier and quicker. Doing it low and slow also means that there is no need to let it rest, since it’s essentially, well, kind of “resting” the whole time.
3. Perhaps most convincingly, owing to the massive size of meat and extremely low roasting temperature, it’s almost impossible to overcook (in fact, there is a higher likelihood of undercooking than overcooking, which is good because you can always pop it into the oven if it’s too rare for you).