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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Article first published as Bistecca alla Fiorentina on Technorati.

Tuscany is famous for its many wonderful aspects. Stunning landscapes of rolling hills, cypress trees, fields of poppies and sunflowers and glorious sunsets. Old barns and farms converted to magnificent properties while retaining their original features. Glimpses of life in the Middle Ages and even the Romanesque and Etruscan eras through its impressive and well-preserved cities. Nature in most of its forms with a gorgeous coastline and sandy beaches, majestic mountains, parks and reserves. Art everywhere and well-being for the body and the mind through luxurious spas.

Then of course there is the Tuscan cuisine and one of the trademark dishes of this fantastic area in Italy is the simple but delight for the senses "bistecca alla fiorentina" (beefsteak Florentine style). It is so famous that it even has its own Facebook page. What is so special about it? Well, first this is a T-bone or porterhouse steak that obligatorily comes from either the Chianina or Maremmana breeds of cattle if you want to stay true to the tradition.

The Chianina breed is the most common one. It was in earlier times raised as draught cattle but is now principally used for meat. It is the largest and a very old cattle breed, having been raised in the regions of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio for over 2'000 years. The Maremmana breed gets its name from the region where it is reared in western central Italy, and has an unusual skeletal build that gives the animal its distinctive appearance.

The preparation of this huge and thickly cut piece of meat – usually meant to feed two people – is very simple, but for the desired result it is crucial that one uses the best ingredients and pays attention to all the details. You will be able to find slightly different versions calling an extra ingredient or two such as a hint of honey or a drizzle of first class olive oil. However, for the base recipe you will need only sea salt, crushed black pepper corns and garlic. The salt and pepper are sprinkled on both sides prior to cooking, but for the garlic, it depends on the chosen way. You may rub it before the steak is seared or added afterwards on the side that has just been cooked. The same goes for that drizzle of olive oil.

The seasoned steak should be put on a wood- or charcoal-fired grill for the best outcome, but should you not have one available searing in a hot frying pan can also be done. The meat has to remain quite rare, and you will be surprised at the mind-blowing burst of flavours once you start enjoying it. As a side dish, Tuscan beans or a crispy green salad are best, and a nice glass of red wine will be the finishing touch.

bistecca fiorentina klein

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