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Rib Eye with Anchovy Butter

A sliced rib eye on an oval platter with anchovy butter drizzled over the top and a fork resting on the side.
Once you get the hang of making anchovy butter, you can use it in other ways; it is equally delicious slathered on warm bread or thrown in a pan with pasta for a super-quick and simple meal.
Chris McDade

Prep 20 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 45 mins
2 to 3 servings
1082 kcal


For the anchovy butter

  • 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 10 anchovy fillets* minced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon (1 to 2 teaspoons) preferably organic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground toasted fennel seeds or ground fennel

For the steak

  • 1 1/4 pound rib-eye steak
  • 1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Make the anchovy butter

  • In a food processor, combine the butter, anchovies, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and fennel seeds. Pulse until all the ingredients are completely incorporated.
  • Using a silicone spatula, move the butter to a plastic container with a lid. Use the butter right away or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.

Cook the steak

  • Take the steak out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes before you start cooking. This helps even the temperature of the meat, which makes it easier to cook to the desired doneness.
  • Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat and pour in the oil.
  • Liberally season the steak with salt and pepper. Not only does this enhance the flavor of the meat, it creates a delicious crust. When the oil begins to shimmer but not smoke, add the rib eye to the skillet. Cook, to your desired doneness, flipping once, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.
  • Transfer the steak to a platter and top with as much anchovy butter as you’d like. The heat of the steak will melt the butter and create a delicious pool for resting. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then slice, spoon some of the melted butter over the rib-eye and serve.


*Why are anchovies so good to use in cooking?

That might sound like a silly question but there's a good explanation for why anchovies can truly transform a dish. Mostly, it comes down to umami—the sensory experience known, in Japanese, as the "essence of deliciousness" or savoriness. And anchovies are FULL of savoriness. While curing, they spend months laying in salt. Enzymes and good bacteria transform the fish into mouthwatering, briny, umami-packed powerhouses, with not much fishy taste left behind.