FLORENTINE STYLE STEAK (Bistecca alla Fiorentina)
T-Bone or Porterhouse Steaks are a cut from the rear of the cow (not the butt). The T-bone has less of the most prized tenderloin (where we get filet mignon) and the Porterhouse is thicker and contains more of the tenderloin and is thicker (32mm or 1.25″ as opposed to 12mm or 1/2″ of a T-Bone). To keep it all in perspective, a T-Bone is going to be about a pound. Certainly you have some fat and at least 25% weight of the bone, but its still a big piece of meat. Don’t be afraid to share if you are serving this at home.
The Florentine style steak can be even thicker, perhaps twice as thick, and while that feeds two people (at minimum). I am not sure how you could even cook something so thick so evenly, but anything that thick and on the bone is going to be served rare if not very rare. If you like your beef or steak done well or well done, this is not the cut for you. Ultimately, the longer you keep a cut of steak like this on the coals or flames, its going to be either burnt on the outside and rare on the inside, or its going to be cooked perfectly on the outside and a bit rare in the middle, and very rare near the bone. I am sure there are scientific ways of cooking this that can make it more consistent throughout, but my guess is the average or even skilled cook is not going to have the patience and the diner is not willing to wait for it to be cooked at its preferred liking.
So, let’s just say you are ready to dine like those in Florence. Let’s take a T-Bone and put it over high flames. As with cooking anything on a grill or stove top, you want to flip it only once and only once after its cooked 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through. Nearly anywhere you go in South America limes or lemons are served with grilled meats. I was never sure why, but the acidity makes it taste even better with a burst of flavor.
On to the Tuscan beans as a side. This is ridiculously simple, and you don’t need 2-3 hours or prep times for the beans. Simply get a can of Cannellini beans, Great Northern Beans, or Navy Beans. Most will not know the difference other than the fact that cannellini beans are a bit larger and the Navy a bit smaller. Some will argue the taste of each varies, but so to me, ever so slightly and especially once cooked and flavored with whatever herbs and spices you use, especially when canned. While I am all for anything that is NOT canned, I will take a can of beans over 8 hours of soaking and 3 hours of cooking, especially since this will only serve 1-2 people, not an entire family at a special Sunday or Holiday dinner.
Again, this is super simple, get the can of beans, rinse them several times to get all that sodium and packing fluids off of them, and allow to drain in more cold water. Drain again, and then put in a ceramic or glass dish. Chop some rosemary, garlic, and a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil. Even a squeeze of lemon will be good. I even give mine a good sprinkle of hot red pepper flakes. Set it aside, allow the beans to absorb all those flavors, stir a few times while marinating. Set aside. This can be served room temperature, or you can heat it, but room temperature is fine. I especially love it on oven baked bread like bruscetta, baguette or any other type of brick oven or baked bread.
Of course you want some vegetables or salad on the side in addition to the beans. I can’t think of anything better than grilled Radicchio since the grill is fired up already right? Split a head of radicchio in half or quarters, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and just let it grill. This will bring out the nutty flavor and take away the bitterness, although I like the bitter taste. Here is a better example here…
Enjoy the last few days of grilling season before the snow starts falling. This, even at home is not a cheap meal, a T-Bone can easily cost you $13 alone. But, if you feel deserving and even want to share it, fire up the grill on Saturday or Sunday and enjoy.