by Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
The Florentine steak is one of the most excellent dishes of Tuscan cuisine. It consists of a specific cut of beef (t-bone) from the Chianina cow from Valdichiana in Tuscany. It must be cut very thick, with bone in, and cooked on a charcoal grill, medium rare, grilled outside and bloody inside.
Here's a little history about the dish. The name “bistecca” was born during the celebrations in honor of San Lorenzo at the time of the Medici. On August 10th, for the celebration of the saint, the lords of the city would offer the people of Florence large quantities of precious, fine meat. The beef was grilled and served to the participants in Piazza San Lorenzo.
According to tradition, the name of this exquisite dish comes from an anecdote back in the sixteenth century when the Piazza San Lorenzo was an international crossroads. The story goes that visiting English knights really appreciated the delicious taste of the dish, and still wanting it, they shouted loudly in their language “beef steak!” The Florentines immediately named the meat "bistecca."
In Florence, the bistecca is served with pride, and every traditional restaurant proudly claims that their bistecca is the best! To this day, there is always a fight between the restaurateurs about the best bistecca preparation, and it is best that I not to reveal the place where you can taste the best one in the city. All Florentines know it, and it is not in a "touristy" restaurant. They are extremely protective of their secret!
Maybe you'll come to Florence in search of the perfect bistecca? Try these restaurants:
Now it's time for you to try to make
the perfect bistecca on your grill!
Bistecca alla Fiorentina
2 lb (1 kg) slice of bistecca on the T-bone (approx. 4 cm thick)
Extra virgin olive oil
The bistecca must be cooked over burning hot red coals. Prepare the barbecue or the grill and place the meat on top. Let it cook until the surface is well roasted. Flip it and let it rest a bit.
Serve bloody with a dash of salt and pepper, rosemary, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.