Sunday 12 June 2011

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

In Tuscany, Italy, bistecca alla fiorentina rules as the most popular and delicious beef dish. Bistecca alla fiorentina, as its name implies, is a grilled beefsteak in the Florentine style. Outside of Tuscany, it's commonly referred to simply as a fiorentina. It is, in fact, a porterhouse or T-bone steak, traditionally from calves of the chianina ox but these days very likely Spanish beef, grilled at high heat over charcoal so that it has a brown, almost charred exterior while being quite rare in the middle. (Don't ask for a well-done bistecca alla fiorentina - even if the chef agrees to cook it that way it will be tough.) It should be brought to your table on a very hot, iron serving tray or a block of wood and then cut off the bone and into strips in front of you. It should be salted after being grilled and might be flavoured with rosemary and/or some olive oil. The traditional accompaniment is a bowl of fagioli, Tuscan white beans.

Bistecca alla Fiorentina as cooked in Tuscany
Bistecca alla Fiorentina as cooked in Tuscany

It's actually not that easy to find a good bistecca alla fiorentina, sometimes because not enough care has been taken in selecting the meat, but more often because it hasn't been grilled exactly as it should be. Ask local people for a recommendation on where to go to try this great Tuscan treat.

More about bistecca alla fiorentina.

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