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Grilled T-Bone Steak

Bistecca alla Fiorentina


Before the Tuscans coined the word bistecca for a T-bone steak, it went by the name carbonate, literally carbon steak, since it was cooked over a charcoal flame. Tradition recalls that the name bistecca took hold after some eighteenth century Englishmen visiting Tuscany saw the steak being grilled in the town square, and cried out "beef steak" which then became bistecca.

The meat is from a special breed of cows called Chianini, which is low in fat and juicy, owing to the grasses that the cows feed on. A true bistecca is cooked on the outside but remains fairly raw inside. It is served with arugola or other salad greens and the dish is also called tagliata, meaning cut into slices.


1 1/2 pound T-bone steak

2 cloves garlic, peeled

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary needles

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup red wine

1/4 cup Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 cup arugola leaves


Fire up the grill and get it really hot!

Make a pile on a cutting board of the garlic and rosemary. Sprinkle the pile with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Use a chef's knife or rocking knife called a mezzaluna and finely mince the ingredients. Rub the mixture all over the steak and put it on the grill. Grill the steak until it is nicely browned on the outside but remains rare inside. Use a small knife and make an incision in the meat to determine rareness.

While the steak is cooking, combine the wine and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Use a brush or rosemary sprig to baste the steak as it cooks.

In a bowl, toss together the arugola, remaining olive oil and salt.

When the steak is ready, cut it into 1/4-inch slices and place them on a plate. Spread the arugola salad over the steak and serve.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA IN TUSCANY by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2003.


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