How to cook a “bistecca fiorentina” (Tuscan steak)
When you travel to Montalcino, Tuscany where Mazzoni wines are made, you quickly learn that the folks who live there like to eat steak.
The bistecca fiorentina (often simply called fiorentina) or Florentine steak is one of the region’s most popular dishes.
Tuscany is famous for being “wine country” but it’s also cattle country. And the Tuscans are fiercely proud of their special breed of cattle, the Chianina. It’s an extraordinarily large breed and because of its size, it makes for some of the most prized beef in the world.
Grilling a steak can be a lot harder than it seems. And the Tuscan use a special technique (see below) for cooking the fiorentina, a cut that we know in America as the Porterhouse.
Because they like their beef seared on the outside and rare on the inside, they cook the steak upright on its “T” before cooking either side.
This does two things: It heats and releases the juices of the bone and it warms the entire steak without changing its color. After the steak has “warmed through,” you simply cook it briefly on either side over high eat to achieve the desired char.
Do the Tuscans love steak because they make such great red wine or do they love red wine because they make such great steak? It’s an age-old question that may never be answered.
What we do know is that one of the greatest pairings for bistecca fiorentina is the Mazzoni Rosso di Toscana: the lush fruit of its Merlot sweetens the char of the beef while the acidity of the Sangiovese cuts through the meat’s tender fattiness.
It makes for a great summer grill but it will thrill your meat-loving guests anytime of year, as well.