Bistecca alla Fiorentina is an impressive dish of Porterhouse steak done Florentine style. This Florentine steak is a simple recipe, perfect for a summer dinner party.
(DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are our own.)
What Is Bistecca Alla Fiorentina?
Bistecca alla Fiorentina is an easy, traditional recipe from Florence.
Everything about this dish highlights Tuscan cooking, from its simplicity, to its use of quality ingredients, to the rustic feel of sitting down to a slab of perfectly cooked steak.
But, this is no ordinary steak.
Traditionally, the meat for Bistecca alla Fiorentina comes from an ancient breed of Tuscan cattle, called the Chianina. This breed of cattle is known for their incredibly flavorful meat.
To highlight the flavor of the meat, the steak is seasoned very simply, just with a little salt and pepper.
In addition to being steak from a specific breed of cattle, this steak is also a very specific cut.
Bistecca alla Fiorentina is made from a thick cut of porterhouse steak.
Instead of inches, Tuscans measure their steak in “fingers”, and a good bistecca alla fiorentina will be 3-4 fingers thick.
We’re talking 2-3 inches thick, depending on whose fingers you’re using!
It’s a hefty steak, one that is meant to serve 3-4 people. So, it’s perfect for a summer dinner party!
What Is A Porterhouse Steak?
A porterhouse steak is a steak that is actually a combination of two incredibly tender steaks, the strip (better known as a New York Strip) and the tenderloin (also called a tenderloin filet, or simply, a filet).
They are connected by a T-shaped bone, which gives this steak it’s characteristic shape.
Both the strip and the tenderloin are incredibly lean and tender, making the porterhouse a very special steak to cook.
What Is The Difference Between A T-Bone And Porterhouse Steak?
The difference between and T-bone steak and a porterhouse all comes down to size.
They both are the exact same steak, cut from the short loin. The porterhouse, however, is larger, because it is taken from the larger end of the tenderloin.
In the US, to be a porterhouse, the tenderloin filet section must be at least 1 1/4 inches wide at its thickest point.
To be a T-bone, the tenderloin filet section only needs to be at least 1/4 inch thick. (Any smaller than 1/4 inch, then the steak will be called either a bone-in New York strip or a “Club” steak.)
How To Choose A Porterhouse Steak For Bistecca alla Fiorentina
Because the classification of porterhouse vs T-bone is based on the size of the tenderloin filet at its widest point, it is possible to get a porterhouse that has a filet that is thick at one point, but thin in other places.
So, when choosing a porterhouse steak, it’s important to look at the size of the filet (the smaller of the two sides). You want to choose one that is uniform all the way through, giving you ample filet.
Because, who wants to be jipped on their tenderloin?
I know we don’t!
The other thing to look for in your porterhouse steak is marbling.
Marbling is the amount of little white flecks that are throughout the meat. The more marbling, the better quality of beef you’re getting. Marbling is one of the reasons that we always choose Certified Angus Beef ® brand, because high amounts of marbling is one of their 10 quality standards.
Bistecca alla Firoentina is all about choosing quality beef. And, while we might not be eating ancient Chianina beef, we’d be willing to bet that Certified Angus Beef ® brand beef comes pretty close the the quality and flavor that Florentines expect when eating this special steak.
If you’re not sure where to find Certified Angus Beef ® brand near you, check out their handy brand locator tool! You won’t be disappointed!
How To Grill Bistecca alla Fiorentina
What really sets Bistecca alla Fiorentia apart is the way it is grilled. The steak for this dish is always cooked at a high heat.
A high heat for that thick of a steak?
That’s the whole point.
Bistecca alla Fiorentina is traditinally cooked to rare in the middle, with a good crust on the outside.
The rareness of the inside showcases the flavor of the meat, while the crust creates a beautifully caramelized contrast to each bite.
What If I Don’t Like Rare Steak?
If rare steak isn’t quite your idea of a good meal, feel free to cook the porterhouse a little longer over a lower heat.
You have a couple of options here:
You could sear it over a hot grill and then stick it in the oven at 375F until it reaches your ideal doneness.
Or, you use the reverse sear method. To do this, you heat part of your grill to medium and cook the steak until it’s nearly done. Heat another section of your grill to hot and sear the steak right before serving, to get that tasty crust.
How Do I Know When My Steak Is Done?
The only way to really know when your steak is done is to use a meat or instant-read thermometer and cook it to the proper temperature.
Push the thermometer into the strip side of the steak, trying to get it as close to the center as possible.
Your steak will continue cooking as it rests before you slice it, so here are the temperatures you’re looking for:
- 120F for rare (cool red center)
- 130F for medium rare (warm red center)
- 140F for medium (warm pink center)
How To Serve Florentine Steak
Since this Florentine steak is large enough to serve 3-4 people, it is traditionally served family style.
It comes to your table with the strip and filet carved off of the T-bone and nicely sliced.
This makes for a pretty presentation, and each diner can try as much as they want of both the strip and filet.
Serve your steak with little bowls of the coarse salt and coarse pepper that you used to season your steak, so your dinner guests can adjust the seasoning on their steak to taste.
Cannellini beans or roasted potatoes and an arugula salad or seared broccolini make for perfect sides to go along with this beautiful steak.
Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine Style Steak)
- 1 Certified Angus Beef ® brand porterhouse, cut 2-3 inches thick
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp coarse salt
- 2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- Remove the steak from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before grilling to let it come to room temperature.
- Preheat your grill to a high to medium-high heat.
- Brush the steak on all sides with olive oil and season one side with coarse salt and pepper.
- Grill the steak, seasoned side down for 5 minutes. Season the second side and flip the steak. Grill on the second side for 5 minutes. Flip the steak again to grill for another 4-5 minutes on the first side. Then, flip the steak a final time.
- Using a meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer, insert it into the side of the steak so that it is about center of the strip. Use the temperature to determine how long you need to continue cooking your steak. (120F for rare, 130F for medium rare, 140F for medium – These temperatures take into account that the steak will continue to cook as it rests before serving.)
- When the meat is done to your liking, remove it from grill and let it rest for 5 minutes for the juices to settle.
- After resting, carve the filet and strip steaks off of the bone. Slice each steak against the grain and arrange it on a serving platter.
- Serve with extra coarse salt and pepper, as desired.
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Sarah is one of Curious Cuisiniere’s founding duo. Her love for cultural cuisines was instilled early by her French Canadian Grandmother. Her experience in the kitchen and in recipe development comes from years working in professional kitchens. She has traveled extensively and enjoys bringing the flavors of her travels back to create easy-to-make recipes.