Beefsteak Florentine is a food that represents strong ties and deep friendships. My first foray to Beefsteak Florentine years ago was from the master of Tuscan cuisine – my mentor, teacher and friend Giuliano Bugialli. Long before Italian cooking classes became the rage, Giuliano was teaching at his homes in Soho and Florence. He brilliantly shared the history, techniques and typical dishes of his beloved Tuscany.
When touring Tuscany several years ago with dear friends as Father’s Day was approaching I decided that the men of our little traveling party might enjoy a Sunday dinner at the famed butcher shop of Dario Cecchini in the picturesque Tuscan town of Panzano, Antica Macelleria Cecchini. Together we shared an afternoon of incredible food and theatrical hijinks thanks to Sr. Cecchini and his staff.
Beefsteak Florentine makes a statement, there is no denying that; beef lovers, this is the special occasion monster of steak you have been dreaming of. At Casa Levitt Beefsteak Florentine comes to mind when planning a dinner for dear friends. Several weeks ago cherished friends, considered more family than friends, were joining us for dinner and Beefsteak Florentine it would be.
Beefsteak Florentine is essentially a thickly cut Porterhouse style steak originating in Tuscany, historically from the Chianina ox which grazes in the Val di Chiana; today most of the bistecca used for Beefsteak Florentine actually comes from Spain. The Italian cut for this particular dish includes a tail which American butchers do not include due to regional variations in butchering. The steak must be of the highest quality and include a generous fillet portion. This requires a special relationship with your butcher since the cut of beef is not something one would normally find in the butcher’s case, we are talking 3 1/2 to 4 inches thick.
There are differences of opinion as to how and when the bistecca should be seasoned, but I defer to Giuliano here; grill the meat unseasoned. Once grilled and correctly sliced, add salt, pepper, lemon wedges and a drizzle of Tuscan extra virgin olive oil. The traditional accompaniment for this Tuscan specialty is Tuscan Style Beans, which can be made in advance and gently reheated.
Celebrate your friendships with the passion and love they so deserve, consider Beefsteak Florentine the next time you entertain those close to your heart. By the way, a bottle of Chianti Classico Riserva or Brunello is the perfect wine for this grand meal.
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I would love to know what your thoughts about Beefsteak Florentine, Tuscan travel & food, and friendship are. You can contact me through the comment section of this post, grazie mille.
- One 4½ to 5 pound Porterhouse Steak, cut 3" to 4" thick with a large fillet section
- Large flake Sea Salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Lemon Wedges and Rosemary Sprigs for garnish
- About 3 hours before you plan to cook the beefsteak, remove it from the refrigerator.
- Preheat your grill to the red hot stage - at least 30 minutes.
- Set the unseasoned beefsteak on the red hot grill and let is sear for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes angle the beefsteak to create crisscross grill marks and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Flip the beefsteak to the opposite side and repeat the process, however this time close the cover of your grill.
- Position the beefsteak on one of the edges and grill for 1 minute, closing the cover. Repeat this process with the two other edges of the beefsteak for 1 minute each, closing the cover each time. Finally stand the beefsteak on the flat bone edge and cook for an additional 1 minute, cover down.
- Remove the beefsteak to a cutting board and allow it to set, loosely tented with foil for 10 minutes.
- To carve the beefsteak for serving, cut both the sirloin and the fillet away from the bone; place the bone on a serving platter. Slice each of these segments across the grain of the meat. Place the sliced sections back using the bone as a guide. Season the steak with coarse sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Garnish the plate with lemon wedges and rosemary sprigs. Present the plattered Beefsteak Florentine along with a small dish of sea salt, the pepper grinder and a flask of the olive oil. Beefsteak Florentine is to be accompanied by warm Tuscan Style Beans.
Absolutely gorgeous. I tried to have bistecca alla fiorentina at least once every summer. And this post reminds me I’m due. That extra thick Porterhouse is a real splurge, but it’s worth every penny!
It certainly is a splurge Frank, Ferragosto is coming – treat yourself.
Ciao Chow Linda says
I’ve eaten this in Tuscany a few times and with the beans it is always what epitomizes Tuscan cuisine to me. A funny story – one time I was eating this with a friend at a restaurant in Florence and we couldn’t finish it. We were loathe to leave the unfinished parts, so I asked for a doggy bag, since I was living in the Oltr’arno at the time. On my way out the door, the waiter stopped me and said, “Oh you forgot your doggy bag.” It was quite heavy. Upon looking inside, we found not just the leftover bone from our meal, but the bones of ALL the people in the restaurant who had left their bistecca unfinished. He really thought I was asking for my dog! Well, I didn’t let them go to waste. I cooked them down and made a delicious broth. I figured the boiling hot water would kill any bacteria. Waste not, want not.
Yes, the beans do typify what Tuscan cuisine is all about. This story is the basis for an Italian comedy Linda, however I must say the the waiter clearly took you as a local, not a tourist which certainly speaks to how natives perceive you. Had he thought you were vacationing I doubt he would have sent you packing with a sack full of bones. You responded like a true Tuscan by making a flavorful broth, complimenti!
lovely post and I love that photo of Dante!
thank you Paola and yes I do love that photo…
What a marvelous way to spend a late summer afternoon. I’m not certain if you were referring to a cooking class in San Miniato al Monte or with me, if so I am flattered. At the moment, I am not offering my regular classes unfortunately.