I am a two-handed chef who needs all her tools available when cooking. So for this week’s Sunday Supper dish, I felt as though I would be working with one hand tied behind my back. Bistecca Fiorentina is an Italian-styled Porterhouse or T-bone steak that is supposed to be cooked to rare temperature over very hot coals, seasoning only with salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon. Well, we had to use 1-inch thick filets because Trader Joe’s had no T-bone steaks of any cut and cook the darn things indoors on a grill pan because grilling outdoors in 105 degrees weather is not my idea of gourmet cooking.
Sous Chef can be ambidextrous in the kitchen, so I assigned him the task of preparing the Bistecca Fiorentina, an assignment he reluctantly accepted after eying the steaks. With less than his usual enthusiasm, Sous Chef patted the steaks dry with paper towels, coated lightly with olive oil, and let them come to room temperature. Just before cooking, he added salt and pepper and grilled the steaks on a blisteringly hot grill pan for three minutes on the first side and two minutes on the other, After the steaks had rested for four or five minutes under an aluminum foil tent, they were given a generous squeeze of grilled lemon. The result was tasty, but that was more a result of Sous Chef’s deft handling of meat indoors than the beef he was using.
A real Bistecca Fiorentina is one served in Florence, Italy using a thick slab of Tuscan Porterhouse from the Chianina cattle produced in the region. My first and best experience was at the Florence outpost of one of our favorite local restaurants. When we told Piero Pierattoni, owner of Ristorante Mamma Gina in Palm Desert, that we were visiting Florence, he handed us his business card and said we should dine at the Florence sibling. With card in hand, Sous Chef strode into the Florence restaurant, presented Piero’s card, and said somewhat conspiratorially: “Piero sent us.” Whether because of the magic card, or more likely just because it is a really terrific restaurant, we had one of those too infrequent “memorable dining experiences” in which every aspect was fabulous. From the friendly, attentive service, to the Tuscan specialties, to the wine selected by our sommelier, we went from strength-to-strength. And the highlight was the Bistecca Fiorentina that our server insisted we try and for which we remain eternally in his debt. We shared a huge, thick Porterhouse Steak from the local Chianina cattle that was tender and juicy with a flavor quite unique from the typical prime beef one gets around here. Perhaps that is because Chianina has the distinction of being the tallest and heaviest breed of cattle, has been toiling and providing sustenance for Italians for at least 2200 years, has “double muscling” that adds extra muscle mass but very little fat, and dines only on the Tuscan region’s luscious grass.
We have not found a source for pure Chianina beef, but there is a suitable alternative called “Piedmontese beef.” At one time, this beef was carried by Lobel’s in New York and we were able to score a big, thick bone-in ribeye for a Christmas past. For some reason, Sous Chef believes the beef came from Italy which would, of course, have added to its allure. Piedmontese beef is now raised in the U.S. and we have found it at Marcona’s at The Farmer’s Market in Los Angeles and online through Certified Piedmontese. I have read that in the U.S. Chianina has been cross-bred with Angus cattle and the result is a “Chiangus,” but I have no personal knowledge of its flavor profile or availability. Just remember when preparing Bistecca Fiorentina to use a big, thick, luscious Porterhouse Steak (or T-bone Steak if necessary). This gives you a beautiful filet on one side of the bone and a New York Strip Steak on the other and allows you to take the meat off the bone for slicing and presentation for yourself and a special companion.
Make sure to check out all the great dishes the Sunday Supper Crew has lined up for you this week. A special thanks to our host Melanie of Melanie Makes for hosting this weeks Sunday Supper Grilling Party.
- Best Wines For A Summer BBQ Party from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
- Grilled Peach and Cinnamon Whiskey Sour from Peaceful Cooking
- How To Make Fresh Squeezed Lemonade from Life Tastes Good
- Pineapple Margaritas from The Messy Baker
- Stone Fruit Sangria from Because I Like Chocolate
- Strawberry Lemonade from Basic N Delicious
Sides and Accompaniments
- Cucumber Salad with Blackberry Browned Butter Vinaigrette from Nik Snacks
- Easy Fruity Salad from Hot Momma’s Kitchen Chaos
- Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime Butter from The Redhead Baker
- Jacques’ Cucumber Salad with Onions from Food Lust People Love
- Mango Peanut Slaw from The Texan New Yorker
- Mom’s Classic Macaroni Salad from Webicurean
- Roasted Strawberry BBQ Sauce from Bobby’s Kozy Kitchen
- Two Tomato Chutney from What Smells So Good?
- Asian-Style Pasta with Gochujang Peanut Sauce from Wallflour Girl
- Barbecue Ribs from girlichef
- BBQ Stuffed Peppers from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Bistecca from Confessions of a Culinary Diva
- Competition Baby Back Ribs with Apple-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce from Crazy Foodie Stunts
- Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Grilled Clams with Chorizo from Noshing With The Nolands
- Grilled Sanma from A Mama, Baby & Shar-pei in the Kitchen
- Grilled Shrimp with Lemon Basil from Nosh My Way
- Grilled Swordfish and Eggplant with Fusilli and Tomatoes from Cooking Chat
- Grilled Wings from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Hawaiian BBQ Pork Sandwiches with Pineapple Salsa from Seduction in the Kitchen
- Lemon Oregano Spatchcock Chicken from Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Mango Beef Kebabs from Curious Cuisiniere
- Slow Roasted BBQ Ribs from Feed Me, Seymour
- Steak Skewers with Chimichurri from Jelly Toast
- Sweet and Tangy Blueberry BBQ Chicken Pizza from Simply Gourmet
- Amazing S’mores 7-Layer Bars from Flavor Mosaic
- Banana Pudding Pie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Blackberry Cake from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Blueberry and Raspberry Galette from Rhubarb and Honey
- Farm Stand Blackberry Buckle from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Grilled Peach Crumble from Try Anything Once Culinary
- Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone Cream and Sweet Balsamic Syrup from La Bella Vita Cucina
- Hot Fudge Ice Cream Pie from Melanie Makes
- Lemon Crinkle Cookies from Vintage Kitchen Notes
- Lemon Ricotta Bars from The Foodie Army Wife
- Old Fashioned Sour Cherry Pie from Pies and Plots
- Pineapple Upside Down Cake from Take A Bite Out of Boca
- S’mores Chocolate Cookie Cups from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
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- 2 T-Bone, Porterhouse, New York, Sirloin, or Filet Mignon Steaks of your choice
- Olive Oil
- Take meat out of package and drizzle with olive oil. Bring meat to room temperature.
- Cut lemon in half or in wedges.
- Preheat grill (indoors or outdoors) over high heat.
- Place meat on grill for approximately 2 minutes per side if 1-inch thick, for thicker pieces it may take up to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare doneness. Rest for 5 minutes.
- While meat is resting grill lemon wedges.
- When ready to eat squeeze lemon wedge over beef.