La Fiorentina—Grilled T-Bone Steak, Florentine Style
One of Italy's two prized breeds of cattle for meat—Chianina beef—is native to Tuscany. Its only rival in the country is Piedmont's Razza Piemontese. The latter is the tenderer of the two and sweet as cream, whereas the Tuscan is firmer and tastier. Chianina grows rapidly to great size so that it is butchered when the steer is a grown calf, vitellone in Italian. To Italians who love beef, a T-bone grilled in the Florentine style is the ultimate steak. It owes some of its appeal, of course, to the distinctive flavor of the meat, but as much again can be attributed to the Florentine way of preparing it which can be applied successfully to a fine, well-aged steak anywhere.
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date
Recipe Coursemain course
Equipmentgrill, mortar and pestle
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturemeaty, savory
- Black peppercorns, ground very coarse or crushed with a pestle in a mortar
- 1 T-bone beef steak, 1½ inches thick, brought to room temperature
- Coarse sea salt
- OPTIONAL: a lightly crushed and peeled garlic clove
- Extra virgin olive oil
- A charcoal or wood-burning grill
Light the charcoal in time for it to form white ash before cooking, or the wood long enough in advance to reduce it to hot embers.
Rub the coarsely ground or crushed peppercorns into both sides of the meat.
Grill the steak to the degree desired, preferably very rare, approximately 5 minutes on one side and 3 on the other. After turning it, sprinkle salt on the grilled side. When the other side is done, turn it over and sprinkle salt on it.
When the steak is cooked to your taste, and while it is still on the grill, rub the optional garlic clove over the bone on both sides, then drizzle the meat very lightly on both sides with a few drops of olive oil. Transfer to a warm platter and serve at once.
I have seen cooks rub the steak with oil before putting it on the grill, but the scorched oil imparts a taste of tallow to the meat that I prefer to avoid.
1992 Marcella Hazan