October 14, 2009
Italians don’t have a lot of grilled beef recipes. But when Italians do it, they do it right. Beef doesn’t need to be marinated, because if you do your beef won’t sear as it should and then it won’t be able to retain all the goodness of its own juices. That’s why real bistecca alla fiorentina (steak in the style of Florence) calls for nothing besides salt and pepper, added only when the beef has already been seared on the grill. Bistecca alla fiorentina is a staple of Tuscan cuisine; it was even described by Artusi in his famous book.
4 thick porterhouse steaks, at room temperature
Bistecca alla fiorentina has to be prepared on an outdoor coal grill. The grill has to be hot, but no flames — mi raccomando. Place the steaks on the grill. Grill next to the hot coals for about 2 minutes. Raise the grill and continue grilling for another 3 minutes. Turn the steaks over and salt the seared side. Grill for 5-7 minutes for rare (10-12 minutes in total). Salt and pepper the unsalted side of the steaks. Let the steaks sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Ideally your steaks should be chianina beef (the traditional breed in Tuscany) and one-and-a-half or two-fingers thick (about 1 – 1 ½ inches).
The word bistecca comes from English beef-steak.