Saturday, December 26, 2015

Coffee and Vanilla Bean Encrusted Tri-tip

Sweet Baby Jesus, I've found the perfect holiday rub. 

At once insanely savory and subtly sweet, this simple formula of coffee, vanilla bean, salt and pepper turns a modest Tri-tip roast into something celestial, cheery and warm. 

The rub lends a complex flavor profile and unique texture to this bottom sirloin cut that I've never experienced before -- resulting in utter tastebud titillation. If you want to surprise and tantalize the guests at your holiday table, this recipe is the new go-to.

Chiara Santi Conti, our fair Veronese friend and co-owner of Fabiolus Cucina Italiana Verona in Hollywood, introduced the recipe to me, which she sourced years ago in Food & Wine Magazine. Her execution of the dish is masterful and inspired. 

I could no longer find the original recipe online, but here is an adapted version: 

Coffee and Vanilla Bean Encrusted Tri-tip

1 3-to-6 LB Tri-tip roast
2 T Table salt
1 Vanilla bean
4 T Espresso or Dark Roast Coffee (never use instant coffee or espresso here)
1 T fresh ground black pepper

In a small mixing bowl put 2 tablespoons of table salt, open a vanilla bean lengthwise with a pairing knife and scrap the seeds out with the help of the salt, by rubbing it against the small vanilla seeds to remove them.

Add 4 tablespoons of ground espresso coffee or dark roast coffee (NO INSTANT COFFEE), and 1 tablespoon of ground back pepper.

Trim the silver skin from the tri-tip roast, leave the bottom fat in place. 

Rub the tri-tip all over with the mixture, if you have some left put it on the fattest side of the meat. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight, if you have the time. Before cooking, remove from fridge and let the meat sit at room temperature for one hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. 

Heat a large cast iron grill pan on stove to high heat. Sear the bottom fat side of the tri-tip roast for 4 minutes, then turn it over and immediately move to the oven. 

Roast the tri-tip for 10 minutes more per each pound (30 to 60 minutes more for a 3 to 6 pound tri-tip) or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit for medium rare.

Before carving, let the roasted meat sit for 10 minutes to redistribute juices & finish cooking.

Step 1: Incorporating the Vanilla Bean pod seeds into the salt.

Cover the tri-tip with the Coffee & Vanilla Bean rub.

Sear in grill pan, then roast.
Or just roast it in a roasting pan if you don't have a large grill pan.