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Rib Steak in Salt Crust Recipe


Sel de Gris de I'Ile de Noirmoutier

Made with two fine salts, the meat develops a tasty salt crust that gives this simple dish tons of flavor.

Adapted from "Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes" by Mark Bitterman.


For the steak:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • One 2-rib bone-in rib steak (about 3 pounds and 2- to 3-inches thick)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 pounds sel gris, such as sel gris de l’Ile de Noirmoutier
  • 2-5 tablespoons water (optional)
  • Leaves from 2 rosemary sprigs

For the herb butter:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh herbs, such as Italian parsley, rosemary, and/or thyme
  • Two 2-finger pinches fleur de sel de Camargue


For the steak:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Heat a heavy iron skillet over high heat for 10 minutes until very hot. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Pat the surface of the steak dry and season with the cracked pepper. Brown the steak on both sides, 1-2 minutes per side.

Have ready a baking dish just large enough to hold the steak. Press the sel gris between your fingers. It should be moist enough to stick together. If it isn’t, stir in a few tablespoons of water until the salt is moist enough to cling together when firmly pressed.

Spread thesel gris ½-inch thick in the baking dish. Scatter half the rosemary leaves over the salt. Place the steak on top and scatter the remaining rosemary leaves over the steak. Pack the salt around the steak until it is completely encased. Bake for 30 minutes for rare, or 40 minutes for medium-rare.

For the herb butter:

While the steak is roasting, make the herb butter. Mash together the butter, garlic, and herbs in a small bowl with a fork until well blended. Gently stir in the fleur de sel, trying to keep the salt crystals as intact as possible. Set aside.

Remove the beef from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Break the salt crust, brush off any excessive salt adhering to the steak, and remove to a cutting board. Cut into thick slices, arrange three or four slices on each plate, and serve with a generous ball of herbed butter.


Click here to see Salt 101: The Best of the Specialty Salts story.

Reprinted with permission from Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes by Mark Bitterman, copyright © 2010. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.