Bistecca alla Florentina
Bistecca alla Florentina is an Italian dish with English roots. In the early 19th Century, the English settled in and around Florence and introduced new cuts of beef, including the T-bone and porter house steaks. Bistecca alla Florentina, or Florentine steak, was born.
The cut is a porterhouse of T-bone with as large a fillet (tenderloin) as possible. Most of the Bistecca alla florentina sold in Florence is Spanish Beef. The meat should be kept at room temperature for 10 hours or so before grilling. Traditionally, the thickness should be “three fingers.” We ordered our 1 1/2 inch-thick bone-in porterhouse (about 3.5 pounds) from Pat LaFreida online. The meat was cut and shipped in an ice-gel pack and never frozen.
Trial By Fire
The traditional Tuscan Bistecca alla Florentina recipe calls for cooking over charcoal, preferably hardwood. Since I have a natural gas grill, that wasn’t an option.
I cranked the grill up as hot as it has ever been, in the neighborhood of 650 degrees. We were going on faith in the recipe, since I’ve never cooked a large steak like this before.
After about 7 minutes I flipped it to the other side using tongs, as opposed to a fork, which would release that precious juice. On the seared side I poured some Il Poggione olive oil and Tuscan sea salt.
When the other side was done, I flipped the steak on end for a few more minutes before entering into the house triumphantly. It was a monolithic masterpiece!
We’ve enjoyed some superlative wine pairing dinners over the years, but the pairing of the Il Poggione 2016 Rosso di Montalcino and the bistecca was off the charts. The meat was smoky and the charred crust and juicy meat exploded with flavor. “That chef was truly amazing.”
Our meal was accompanied with roasted broccoli and potatoes. We had a nice loaf of crusty Italian bread with an olive oil dipping sauce.
Rosso di Montalcino is sometimes called a “baby Brunello” after the highly regarded Brunello di Montalcino. The Il Poggione Rosso is 100% Brunello (the local name for Sangiovese). The wine is matured for 12 months in large oak barrels before undergoing bottle aging.
This is a silky wine with flowing flavors of red berries and sour cherry. The oak aging provides a welcome structure. To have a bite of steak in your mouth and sip in the Rosso di Montalcino was euphoric.
The Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino has an SRP of $27. When you can enjoy it with a beautiful steak it is priceless!
Full disclosure: We received the wine as a marketing sample and the steak was provided gratis.