Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Tues 12 Feb 2008

Since we were drinking Italian wine for Wine Blogging Wednesday I wanted some Italian food to go with it.

Australian Gourmet Traveller came to the rescue with bistecca alla fiorentina. I wasn't really inclined to rush out and buy t bones for a mid week supper so I scoured the market for some decent sirloin.

The only place to buy steak is at the market. Limit yourself to the supermarket and you will have to resign yourself to meat cut so thinly you can read the newspaper through it (as my dad would say) and it's usually drab, uninspiring stuff (not to mention over packaged). Unfortunately, one trend I noticed at the market was the offering of sirloin as 'table trimmed'. This means 'fat removed'. Ah, so wrong. I want a big layer of fat on my steak to ensure all those lovely flavours go through the meat. I'm quite capable of cutting a layer of fat from some cooked meat myself, thank you very much.

Anyway, I finally found some fantastic sirloin at Phil Bennett's. It was already cut in big fat slices, with a big layer of fat, nice dark meat and marbled to boot! And just £6 for two big slices!

The AGT version of bistecca alla fiorentina is simple: take your steak, rub some olive oil on it, season, and then let it sit packed in some bruised rosemary.

Get your pan good and hot, and add butter and olive oil. If you have a griddle or a grill - even better. Whack the steak in and leave it. If you start messing around with the steak it will stick to the pan and it will all go wrong. Once it's seared properly you'll be able to turn it over easily.

Make sure you take it out of the pan before you think it's cooked and then sit it on a hot plate, wrapped in tin foil.

Sort out the rest of your meal - in our case some potatoes sautéed in duck fat and a quick take on insalata caprese, and then serve.
What better to go with it than a Super Tuscan? In our case, the 2001 Ormanni Julius - sangiovese red berry fheavy, but with hints of leather finishing the wine thanks to the shiraz. We were lucky enough to buy this wine at the winery, so I'm not sure how available it is in the UK (a quick google suggests not very). The 2001 is drinking well now: since the summer (when we bought it) it has definitely moved on, with a decidedly garnet hue and the tannins softening nicely. Drink now. Drink with steak.

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Blogger Steve M said...

We're off to trawl vineyards in Tuscany this summer - any other recommendations alongside the Ormanni for ones to visit (or avoid)? I have a load of guidebook/wine book suggestions but there's nothing like a personal recommendation!

12:03 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

Steve ... my main recommendation would be to get yourself one of the Chianti wine maps (available from the tourist office in Greve) and plan where you want to go. There are SOOO many wineries that it's just not possible to drive around and randomly stop off. They are all so close together that if you hit a bad one you won't be far away from the next one!

1:03 pm  

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