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Al_Dente

Steak-- Florentine Style

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As a side issue I'd like to mention that the Chianina breed does exist here in the US but from the little I know, is generally mixed with other breeds to produce a product that is more likely to be to American tastes. There is an organic farmer near me who does this...and there is also an experimental state-run farm over the border in West Virginia which is doing tests on both Chianina and Charolais.

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Soak rosemary branches and toss them over the coals as the meat cooks if you don't want it on the steak.

My Florentine friends would insist it's not the same unless grilled over vine cuttings. :rolleyes:

:whatever:

Vine cuttings seem to impart a partiucularly smokey flavor to the meat -- when we were in Provence the bistro in our village (Vacqueyras) grilled with them and we cooked with them at the house, as well -- vine clippings piled by the side of the road being rather common in that neighborhood. My wife found the effect overwhelming -- much stronger than, say, adding mesquite chips to the grill -- and disliked it, I thought it added a wonderful flavor to what might have otherwise been undistinguished beef.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you get hold some vine clippings, go easy.

Also, the recipe for the beef I use finishes the steak with a little chopped parsley atop the olive oil and lemon.


Edited by Busboy (log)

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ok, so i guess i don't get it. it sounds like "florentine" means grilled steak??!! What makes it "florentine", the lemon wedges and the oil?

"Steak Florentine style" is translation of "Bistecca alla Fiorentina". What defines Bistecca alla Fiorentina is all the things that people have said.

"Bistecca" looks suspiciously un-Italian in root. I haven't seen any evidence of this, but it is fun to speculate that "Bistecca" is derived from the English "Beef steak" and the dish was created under the influence of the English in Florence. Does anybody have a copy of Artusi handy?

So "Steak Florentine style" could be an English translation of an Italian word for an originally English Steak. What fun.

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"Bistecca" looks suspiciously un-Italian in root. I haven't seen any evidence of this, but it is fun to speculate that "Bistecca" is derived from the English "Beef steak" and the dish was created under the influence of the English in Florence. Does anybody have a copy of Artusi handy?

So "Steak Florentine style" could be an English translation of an Italian word for an originally English Steak. What fun.

Here I come :biggrin:

From the Artusi:

Bistecca alla fiorentina. Da beef-steak, parola inglese che vale costola di bue, è derivato il nome della nostra bistecca
Bistecca alla Fiorentina. From beef-steak, English word that indicated the costola of the ox, came the name for our bistecca

I didn't translate costola in the above quote since I'm not sure which cut Artusi is referring to, every Italian region has different names.

So yes, you're absolutely right Adam.

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Hurrah, I am a genius :wink:, although it looked pretty obvious as a similar thing happened in France.

Alberto I must thank you as when I have mentioned this putative origin to my Tuscan friends they become very thin lipped in denial. But now I can say "This is a wonderful version of the English Beef steak" with the full backing of Artusi.

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But now I can say "This is a wonderful version of the English Beef steak" with the full backing of Artusi.

Artusi talks more about the origin of the name than of the dish. On the other hand he also writes:

rivoltatela più volte, conditela con sale e pepe quanto è cotta, e mandatela in tavola con un pezzetto di burro sopra
turn it a few times (while cooking), add salt and pepper once it's cooked, and serve it topped with a little piece of BUTTER

(capitals and comments between aprenthesis mine)

I can't really imagine butter as a traditional Tuscan element. If your Tuscan friends still don't believe you, this painfull detail should finish them off :laugh:

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I imagine that they will react in the following way "Butter?! Artusi? Oh, yes he is from Emilia Romagna isn't he?" Then some snickering and the "Grasso" being mentioned a few times. Possibly some comments of the relative merits of Tuscan v Others football teams. :smile:

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When I make this dish, I use a variation of the version in 'Flavors of Tuscany' by Nancy Harmon Jenkins, which is similar to what others have advised.

Warm a serving platter.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the steak, either a T-bone or porterhouse.

Grill over hot coals until the steak is either rare or the rare side of medium rare, with a good brown crust on both sides.

Meanwhile, arrange one bunch of arugula on the warm serving platter.

Place the grilled steak on the arugula and drizzle with best quality extra virgin olive oil.

Let it rest, then slice and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

For a side dish, I usually serve potatoes roasted with olive oil, fresh rosemary and salt. And, of course, plenty of big fat red wine,as mentioned earlier.

Enjoy!

By the way, I thought you might be interested in a portion of Ms. Jenkins' introduction to this dish:

Bistecca ai ferri (grilled beef steak)

"It's sometimes called bistecca all fiorentina but it isn't really Florentine. In fact, the people of Cortona claim it as their own, and with considerable justification. Each year in early August, Cortona holds a sagra della bistecca, or steak fair, when thousands of these steaks are cooked on grills set up in the main park to feed the hungry multitudes. The modern sagra is but a pale reflection of the annual agricultural fair that used to be held in Cortona. The old fairs were great institutions, where animals of all kinds, along with other agricultural products and machinery, were bought and sold... Nowadays the only thing left is the sagra della bistecca but it's a glorious celebration in itself and splendid time for meat-lovers to get together and feast."

.

Actually, I believe there was a piece in the NYTimes food section this week about a restaurant - I think it was in Brooklyn - that holds their version of a 'sagra' once a month. I don't know how to link to articles yet, but it was in yesterday's food section, on an inside page, below the fold. (offtopic, I realize, but Jenkins' intro reminded me...)

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I really want to get this book. I have her Flavors of Puglia book and it's excellent as well.

I can't remember where but I once read an article about the funeral for the bistecca in one town since meat was no longer going to be allowed to be served on the bone after the Mad Cow scare. Alot of celebs were there, I think Elton John won the bid for the "last" bistecca. Thankfully I guess the scare died down and they're back to tradition.

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wow...I cannot believe a a simple request for a grilled beef steak recipe is going over to 2 pages...you people are crazy :smile::hmmm::wacko: ...I should probably get back to work.

later,

Elie

P.S. I still like mine rubbed with fresh rosemary.

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I enjoy Flavors of Tuscany so much! She writes a great deal about the culture and the history of food in the region, etc. Now I'll have to get the Flavors of Puglia :smile:

One note - I notice Flavors of Tuscany was released in 1998, so it may have been written pre-Mad Cow scare, at least in Italy. So I'm not sure of the situation regarding bistecca in the towns in Italy now.

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Feh. Philistines.

When I want Steak--Florentine-styled I go to my local neighborhood warehouse grocery store and pick up the cheapest pork breakfast steaks I can find. I douse 'em with Lawry's Seasoning Salt and Butter flavor Pam. Then I nuke 'em til they scream. After that, I pull them out, let them cool, and dump some Rose's Lime juice on them. Garnish with corn nuts.

Mmm-mmm good.

Who's coming over for dinner? :blink::shock::hmmm:

I gotta stop working so late. It's making me contrary.

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wow...I cannot believe a a simple request for a grilled beef steak recipe is going over to 2 pages...you people are crazy :smile::hmmm::wacko: ...I should probably get back to work.

later,

Elie

P.S. I still like mine rubbed with fresh rosemary.

It's one of those things that sounds simple, but with access to this many opinions (and great ones too!), you'll get ideas that you hadn't considered. If you asked how to boil water you'd probably get MORE than 2 pages.

Which is a good thing...

Thanks to all for the info. I'll try and post pics of the slabs of meat next week. I've got 2 three to four pound USDA Prime T-bone's on order. How does Mr Balic say? Ah yes, a big fuck off T-bone. It'll be served rare as my dining companions... will allow, that is-- I'm ready for it freakin RAW. Good olive oil shall be drizzled, lemon wedges served, but I think I'll put the rosemary and shaved parm reggiano on the side. I may very well burn those rosemary stems underneath the steaks-- we'll have some good beans with rosemary to accompany.

I can taste it already...

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As a secondary recipe, take a look at Batali's "Simple Italian Food".

I think that it is page 188. My copy opens to this recipe as this page is the one with the most spilled junk on it.

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Given the extensive expositions already posted, I'll add the following, for whatever its worth. But first of all, "authenticity" is bullshit, regional variances rule, IMHO.

About 7 years ago, I spent a summer helping out in an Enoteca in Pietrasanta (about an hour's drive from Florence, by the coast, near Viareggio, in fact, only 20 mins from the leaning tower).

We did the following over coals:

- duck breast

- boar chops (cinghiale)

- filleto (self-explanatory)

- bistecca

This is how we did the bistecca:

- remove from walk-in during afternoon prep

- get grill fucking hot with vine shoots and maybe some applewood, fired with extra coals.

- soak bunch of rosemary in olive oil, not the good stuff, no point really

- slap steak on grill, leave 5 mins.

- season side up, brush with oil, flip.

- 5 mins later, season side up, brush with oil, flip.

- 3 mins later, remove to cool side of grill or onto serving plate.

- serve to the punter, carved at his table, EVOO and lemon on the side

- fagioli on the side, or a mista verde salad.

the meat was always marbled and well and truly fatty. In fact, the grasso was well prized. Made one 'strong'. People in the streets would debate who made the best bistecca where, some preferring one idiosynchracy over another. Te solution was simple, go to the place that did the one you liked. Choice, is important.

vote wisely.

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Most important to me also, is to have a great big red wine with the meal.

Thanks for the detailed advice! YES, a big fat wine will be served!

Big wine yes, fat wine no. The last thing you need with all that meat fat is a fat, low acid/tannin wine.

This calls for a Brunello or Rosso di Montalcino (look for Lisini) or a structured Vino Nobile like Boscarelli.

The tannins, acids and structure of these wines cut through all that meat and the richness of the steak makes a perfect foil for a young, structured wine.

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When I make this dish, I use a variation of the version in 'Flavors of Tuscany' by Nancy Harmon Jenkins, which is similar to what others have advised.

Warm a serving platter.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the steak, either a T-bone or porterhouse.

Grill over hot coals until the steak is either rare or the rare side of medium rare, with a good brown crust on both sides.

Meanwhile, arrange one bunch of arugula on the warm serving platter.

Place the grilled steak on the arugula and drizzle with best quality extra virgin olive oil.

Let it rest, then slice and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

For a side dish, I usually serve potatoes roasted with olive oil, fresh rosemary and salt. And, of course, plenty of big fat red wine,as mentioned earlier.

Enjoy!

By the way, I thought you might be interested in a portion of Ms. Jenkins' introduction to this dish:

Bistecca ai ferri (grilled beef steak)

"It's sometimes called bistecca all fiorentina but it isn't really Florentine. In fact, the people of Cortona claim it as their own, and with considerable justification. Each year in early August, Cortona holds a sagra della bistecca, or steak fair, when thousands of these steaks are cooked on grills set up in the main park to feed the hungry multitudes. The modern sagra is but a pale reflection of the annual agricultural fair that used to be held in Cortona. The old fairs were great institutions, where animals of all kinds, along with other agricultural products and machinery, were bought and sold... Nowadays the only thing left is the sagra della bistecca but it's a glorious celebration in itself and splendid time for meat-lovers to get together and feast."

.

Actually, I believe there was a piece in the NYTimes food section this week about a restaurant - I think it was in Brooklyn - that holds their version of a 'sagra' once a month. I don't know how to link to articles yet, but it was in yesterday's food section, on an inside page, below the fold. (offtopic, I realize, but Jenkins' intro reminded me...)

I was in Cortona this year on the day of the "sagra della bistecca" but we had eaten a huge pranzo di ferragosto and the idea of a huge steak did not appeal. I guess I will have my eGullet merit badges ceremonially snipped off now.

But you could see the cloud of smoke from a long way away.

And plain beans are one of the key accompaniments "fagiloi in fiiasco". And no cheese.

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Bistecca.  Never cooked such a thick steak but Superstore had Canada AAA grade rib roasts on for $10.53/kg so this 4 rib roast cost me $35! 

I decided to cut it into four two inch steaks.

Not really a "bistecca" since it isn't a T-bone or Porterhouse but it should cook up the same way.

Get the Big Green Egg going with a good bit of charcoal and sear hard on each side for about 6 to 8 minutes then rest.  How does that sound?  Some rosemary/salt/pepper to season and serve with some Balsamic Vinegar.

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Even with a 2" thick steak it sounds like too long at high heat to me. Can you set the BGE up so that there's a warm side in addition to the searing-hot side?  And do you have a meat thermometer you can use?  It would be a shame to see those lovely steaks overcooked, unless you want them well done.

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I don't think I can set the BGE up with a hot and cooler side.  I do have a meat thermometer and planned on checking it after five minutes on one side.  Do not want them more than medium-rare...on the rare side.

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Beautiful things. Checking, but I don't think I can get from Arkansas to BC by dinnertime...

 

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On 8/25/2004 at 10:26 AM, carswell said:

Elie's got it right, though the rosemary's optional. Some recipes tell you to marinate the steak in — or brush it with — olive oil before grilling. Don't. The oil is a seasoning and the heat destroys its flavour.

 

Sorry I would take exception to that. I always drizzle olive oil on the top of my steaks and then cook them top side down.

True the olive oil will smoke at moderate temps but the fat from the steaks moderate the effect once things get cooking.

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21 hours ago, Smithy said:

Even with a 2" thick steak it sounds like too long at high heat to me. Can you set the BGE up so that there's a warm side in addition to the searing-hot side?  And do you have a meat thermometer you can use?  It would be a shame to see those lovely steaks overcooked, unless you want them well done.

 

I agree the time is too long.

I do it all with just my senses. I get a good hot fire going with some big hardwood chunks and lump charcoal.

When the fire is too hot to hold your hand over it, its ready for the steaks.

About 6 to 8 min first side and  5 min on 2nd side should do it. But this isn't SV.

Every fire is different. Every steak is different.

You should be  able to tell the how done your steak is with your finger.

If not get a good instant read thermometer & teach your self.

 

BTW a BGE isn't a Weber.  you can't do a hot side & warm side


Edited by Paul Fink (log)

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@Paul Fink  and @Smithy Thanks for your input.  I have a Weber and a BGE.  The Weber can be sit up with a hot side and cooler side but then I won't get the 'fire' taste as I would if using the BGE.  Good idea to add some hardwood.  I have four of these steaks so I am going with the BGE first.  I will be monitoring the doneness for sure and I need to allow rest time with a 5 degree or so temperature increase in the meat.

 

 

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Well, we got the steak cooked nice and rare.  Just brushed it with rosemary oil and served with frites, crispy onions and a salad.  

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