Tuesdays with Luca - Bistecca alla Fiorentina con Balsamico
We are back with back this week with a classic Tuscan dish! Every week, we post a brand new recipe and wine pairing from our very own Chef Luca, that he has developed, just for you!
This week, we are making Bistecca alla Fiorentina con Avignonesi Balsamico!
Did you know that the name bistecca comes from the British term “beef-steak” and according to writer Maria Luisa Incontri, its history in Florence goes back to 1565, specifically March 23 in San Lorenzo square. To celebrate the wedding of Paolo Orsino and Isabella, daughter of the Duke of Florence, a whole ox was roasted in Piazza San Lorenzo and distributed to the people. Florence at the time of the Medici was a major crossroads for travellers. They say some English knights were at the celebrations in the square, and at the sight of those steaks they started to shout: “beef-steak! beef-steak!”. Florentines really love to give exotic names to food so they started to call this grilled cut of meat bistecca.
The cut of the meat is made from the part of the loin near the leg of the Scottona, type of special Chianina cattle, and must absolutely include a “T” bone between the sirloin and the tenderloin, otherwise it will be called ‘Costata’ (the only Sirloin with bone) and it is derived exclusively from the part of the loin near the shoulder. It’s normally 3-4 cm high and 1,5 – 2 kg. Now that, is a steak!
Also to note, the Balsamico used for this dish is Avignonesi’s very own, Balsamico! Made from Trebbiano and Grechetto grapes, the Balsamico has been ageing for quite a number of years, waiting to be tasted! It’s fantastically rich and tasty, and is a lovely complement for the bistecca.
BISTECCA ALLA FIORENTINA CON BALSAMICO
2 (2 pound / 900 g) Porterhouse steaks, about 2 inches (5 cm) thick
Grey sea salt
Coarse grind black pepper
Avignonesi Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva
Let the steak rest outside the refrigerator for 30 minutes before cooking. Use a hot, clean, oiled grill. If pan roasting, preheat the oven to 450°F / 230°C.
Liberally season the steak with the salt and pepper, coat with olive oil and press the seasoning into the meat. Grill the steaks for about 5 to 6 minutes on each side for medium rare. The fillet will cook a little faster than the strip loin. Move the steaks every 2 minutes or so for even cooking and a crispy exterior.
For pan roasting, heat a cast iron skillet with a little olive oil until smoking hot. Turn on the fan, open the window and stand back to avoid getting splattered! Using tongs, place the steaks in the center of the pan. Cook until the first side is seared brown, about 4 minutes. Turn the steaks and place the pan in the oven until the steaks are done, about 6 minutes for medium rare. Remove the steaks to a carving board and let rest for at least 5 minutes before carving.
Cut the steaks away from the bone and carve into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange the meat on warmed plates and drizzle a little bit of Avignonesi balsamico over the slices. Serve with some extra gray sea salt on the side.
Wine Pairing: Avignonesi Desiderio Merlot – What could pair better than our own Desiderio wine, named for a famous Chianina bull that lived at Avignonesi and is where the meat for the steak comes from? A harmonious blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, Desiderio has enough tannins to compete with the richness of the meat, but is delicate enough to cleanse your palate and leave you wanting more!