FLORENCE, Italy— Juicy, pink, and raw. When grilling out back at home, these words meant the meat needed some extra time to cook. But in Florence, this Tuscan cuisine is grilled over a wood fire– and extremely rare.
The MU study abroad group and I were happy to take a break from our pasta and bread diet and ordered the Florentine steak or bistecca alla fiorentina at the quaint Ristorante del Fagioli.
Our eyes bulged as the waiter presented our 1.5 kilo raw T-bone steak to our table to ensure our approval. He pointed out the perfect amount of white marbling and showed us where he would divide the portions. When the gigantic steak came out a bit later, I found myself fawning over the gorgeous sear and shocked at the rareness of the pink, squishy center.
The raw pinkness of the center, however, isn’t the only thing that is rare about this steak. In order to be an authentic Florentine steak, there are several regulations to follow:
1. The meat needs to be from the short loin (in order to produce T-bone) of 12 or 18 month old Chianina or Maremma cattle. It must be about 1.5 to 2 inches thick.
2. It should be cooked around 5 minutes on each side, and should only be flipped once.
3. No seasoning should be added until the very end of the process. Typically, olive oil will be used to coat the steak when it is removed from the fire.
The result should be a well-browned, sleek crust on the outside and a super tender, juicy steak on the inside. Quite possibly, the best steak I’ve ever had.