Bistecca Alla Fiorentina: How Italians Grill A Giant Porterhouse Steak
Let's talk steak. And, by steak, I mean STEAK. Let's talk about a perfectly grilled steak simply seasoned with a hint of rosemary. Let's talk steak so plentiful, there's no way you're leaving the table hungry.
Let's talk Bistecca alla Fiorentina.
Cooked in typical Tuscan style, Bistecca alla Fiorentina is simplicity at its best. The only seasonings on this massive Porterhouse steak are rosemary, salt, and olive oil, so the magic of this recipe comes right down to ingredient selection and your skill at the grill.
Let's explore the recipe step-by-step.
First thing first: Start with a great steak
Ingredient quality is always important, but it is especially important with Tuscan cuisine. You see, Tuscans believe that simplicity is best, and that the ingredients should speak for themselves. Do yourself a favor and buy the best, thick Porterhouse steak you can find. Traditionally you're looking for something around 2 1/2-inches thick. Seek out grass-fed. Seek out dry-aged.
The bigger, the better
I did say thick!
Oh, and I mean BIG!
A Bistecca alla Fiorentina traditionally serves 2-3 people. But, sometimes even 96-ounces of steak barely serves one.
Grill your huge steak over an ample pile of hot coals
The key to cooking this huge piece of meat properly is to cook it over hot coals until darkly seared on the outside, and rare on the inside. Again, ingredient selection is important, and here the ingredient I'm talking about is the charcoal. Go out of your way to find a good, whole hardwood hickory charcoal. Get plenty of hickory coals going into a nice, hot bed in your grill.
How hot should the coals be, you ask?
D'oh! Forgot the seasonings!
Once grilled, let rest 10 minutes before carving
Rest is important. Place that gorgeous grilled steak on a warmed platter, cover with a sheet or two of aluminum foil, then set it aside to rest for 10 minutes or so. The resting period lets the juices redistribute throughout the steak to they won't leak out as much when you cut it.
Take advantage of this preprandial interlude to pop the cork on that nice super Tuscan you've been saving.
Hey, maybe spend more money on the steak, and less on the wine: Top 5 Affordable Super-Tuscan Wines - Epicurious.com
A rested steak bleeds little juice
See? Would I lie to you?
Relish your Bistecca Fiorentina right down to the bone
(Now's not the time for propriety.)
Now, your turn!
What do you say? Are you going to give it a go? Remember: top-quality meat, a little olive oil, salt, and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. Add hot coals, and you're all set!
While it's true that nothing quite beats a six-pound grilled steak, maybe you want to go a little easier on your wallet (and belt). Noel Christmas has some tips for attaining restaurant-quality steaks at home too.