Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Whilst back in Sydney recently, with access to good quality and affordable beef, I decided to make bistecca alla fiorentina.

Anyone who is familiar with Italian cuisine will know that bistecca alla fiorentina is a simple but wonderful way of preparing steak. Not just any steak but specifically a T-bone that is grilled over a charcoal fire and seasoned with salt and pepper. Some traditionalists believe that the beef should come from Chianina cattle; some people allow the Maremmana breed of cattle.

What makes this different is that the T-bone is thickly cut and often shared between two or more. It is also served very rare.

Any local butcher should be able to cut you T-bone steaks to your preference. I asked mine to cut me slices that were “three fingers thick”. Hold your index middle and ring fingers together to achieve the thickness. Each steak ended up being about 1kg each. So impressed was the butcher that is said “now that’s a steak!” I took three slices.

The Rolex GMT-IIc looks tiny compared to these monsters.

For sides, I opted to maintain an Italian theme with a tomato, bocconcini and basil salad, grilled mushrooms with garlic parsley, chilies and bread chunks and roasted vegetables with rosemary and garlic. We also had a side of Italian pork sausages, just in case the meat wasn’t enough.

Just to be fancy, I deviated away from the traditional condiment of lemon wedges for the bistecca, and served the meat with a side of shallots, white vinegar, chili and sunflower oil, which is more French than Italian.

In fact, preparing all of the sides took more effort than the steaks.

Don’t be fooled by the thickness, as these need to be served rare or medium rare. No more than 7 minutes a side with the meat at room temperature is my recommendation. Make sure the flame is hot to achieve a wonderful seared crust on the meat.

Served with a good bottle of red and we are in beef heaven.



Sarah Vino said...

Great photos!!!
And nice blog...

Reemski said...

There's nothing like a bloody good steak to make the tummy smile

trompe le monde said...

if you are to believe writer bill buford, there are very few grass-fed cattle left in tuscany. and the most famous butcher in the region (perhaps the whole world) -- dario ceccini... cuts his bistecca from spanish cattle of undisclosed breed (but neither chianina or maremmana)

Gastronomy Gal said...

looks fabulous! as was the case with you, it often takes longer to prepare sides for a bbq but those mushrooms look like they were totally worth it!