When it comes to meat, we Tuscans are the undisputed leaders and there is no doubt about this! 😁
Steak is one of the most loved dishes in the world, capable of satisfying even the most demanding palates, apparently easy to prepare on the grill and for this reason it is perfect for convivial dinners with friends accompanied by a good wine or a good craft beer.
Here in Tuscany we have many variations of meat, but among all the Florentine steak stands out for its tradition and goodness.
Fiorentina is a cut that comes from prized steers such as Chianina or Limousine, known for their excellent meat, characterized by a balanced marbling of intramuscular fat, which will bring softness and flavor to the dish.
The height of the slices must be at least 3-5cm (or as they say here in Tuscany, " Under 3 fingers it's carpaccio !"), cooked STRICTLY rare and on the bone to keep the meat soft and succulent, and served on a wooden cutting board and then cut into thin slices directly by the diners.
If you are in Tuscany you will be able to find a good Fiorentina in all the best butchers, but to meet gourmets outside the region on our online shop you can find that of the very famous Macelleria Balestri in Lari (in the province of Pisa), which will arrive directly at your home in a few days in an airtight and temperature-controlled package certified for food.
Well, now that we've done a quick overview of our favorite cut, let's get to the point:
How do you cook a Perfect Steak?
Let's see what the basic steps are:
Preparation : Before cooking the steak, it is essential to bring it to room temperature for at least 30 minutes to allow even cooking.
Marinade: simple, but to your taste. Prepare a mix with extra virgin olive oil, chopped garlic, aromatic herbs such as rosemary and thyme, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Brush the marinade over the meat and let it rest for a few minutes.
Cooking : The Fiorentina steak is traditionally cooked on the grill or on the embers, but it is also possible to use a cast iron pan. Preheat your grill or pan over high heat to get a nice crust on the outside. When hot, place the steak on the grill or in the pan, avoiding piercing it with a fork so as not to let the juices escape. For rare cooking, let it cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. For medium rare, increase cooking time to 5-6 minutes per side. Remember to turn the steak only once so it doesn't dry out.
The doneness : The steak can be enjoyed rare, rare or well done, depending on personal preference. The traditional Fiorentina steak is served rare, with a crunchy external crust and a tender, juicy heart. If you prefer more advanced cooking, extend the cooking time by a few minutes.
Resting : After cooking, it is essential to rest the steak for a few minutes before slicing it. This allows the internal juices to redistribute, ensuring more succulent and soft meat. Cover the steak with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 5 minutes.
Presentation : The Fiorentina steak is traditionally served whole on a wooden cutting board, accompanied only by a pinch of coarse salt. Tradition dictates that each diner serves himself with his own hands, enjoying every bite with pleasure. It goes well with a wide range of side dishes, such as roast potatoes, grilled vegetables, salad and fresh tomatoes.
With such a delicious dish we certainly cannot neglect the matching wine !
Our suggestion is a wine with an intense and balanced flavor with notes of berries, such as the Sabiniano di Casanova DOC , from the Azienda Agricola Podere La Chiesa in Terricciola (Pisa).
This wine, an organic red obtained from Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes aged at least 3 years after the harvest, has a balanced flavor that pairs perfectly with grilled meats and is also ideal for ending an evening with friends.
An aspect that is often overlooked, but fundamental to obtain maximum flavour, perfect smoking and also a touch of personality is the choice of the right coals and wood.
So let's see what types of coal and wood are best for cooking a steak :
Wood from fruiting trees : Using wood from fruiting trees such as cherry, apple, peach or olive tree can add a unique flavor. These woods burn at high temperatures and release a sweet, aromatic aroma that combines well with meat.
Oak wood : Oak wood is widely used in barbecuing, particularly for large steaks such as Fiorentina. Oak produces a long-lasting, hot ember that gives meat a robust, smoky flavor.
Beech wood : Beech wood is another popular choice for barbecuing. It burns evenly, without releasing too strong flavors, allowing the meat to express its natural flavor.
Regardless of the type of charcoal or wood you choose, it is important to ensure that it is dry and free of chemical treatments or resins that could alter the flavor.
Remember to let the coals or wood burn to good embers before starting cooking. Also be sure to constantly monitor the temperature of the embers, adjusting the distance between the grate and the coals or adding or removing wood as necessary.
However, we cannot conclude our guide without mentioning another classic cut of the Tuscan tradition, as well as one of our favourites, namely the Costata !
The steak , also known as entrecôte, is a cut from the front part of the beef loin, therefore with a smaller fillet. From an organoleptic point of view it has a greater quantity of fat than the Florentine or other cuts obtained from the upper parts, thanks to which it obtains a very tasty flavour.
Well, now that you know all our secrets, all you have to do is invite your friends and light the grill!
The Bistecca Fiorentina, with its centuries-old tradition, represents a unique culinary experience. By following the preparation and cooking tips indicated above, you will be able to delight your guests with a succulent and tasty steak, enriching your table with a piece of authentic Tuscan tradition.
Enjoy your meal!