The Fiorentina cut is a substantial slab of meat roughly equating to an American T-bone or a Porterhouse steak, whose grilled deep-brown crust should be slightly salty, and the inside meat flavorful, velvety tender and perfectly rare. Not to be tackled without a bottle of robust red wine, and a hearty appetite.
Fiorentina steaks can easily exceed 3 kg (6 lbs), and a Fiorentina that weighs less than a kilogram (2.2 lbs) is not a Fiorentina. It must form, according to experts, a perfect heart shape, bordered by a 1-inch perimeter of white fat, with the bone drawing a symmetrical, central “T” that separates the tenderloin from the sirloin.
- 1 T-bone or porterhouse steak, at least 2 inches thick and weighing 2 lbs
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Florentines grill their mammoth steaks over a bed of embers using natural charcoal (ideally oak…), but briquettes will get the job done too. Once you have your coals or briquettes fired up, which should be quite hot–they should be alive and shrouded in a veil of white ash–set your grill about 4 to 6 inches above the coals, and let it heat for a few minutes, but not too long because otherwise it will burn lines into the flesh.
Drop the Fiorentina on the grill, let it sear 5 minutes per side: as soon as the steak comes off the grill easily, flip it and liberally salt the freshly grilled surface. After a few more minutes, when the other side comes free, flip it again and salt. Don’t worry about over salting because the browned surface won’t allow the salt to draw out excess moisture. Continue turning and adjusting lightly with cracked black pepper.
The cooking should happen over only a few minutes, and when done the steak should still be rare on the inside. Purists eat Fiorentina blue (that means really raw) and consider a ‘well-done’ Chianina steak a sacrilege.
Some like to finish cooking Fiorentina by standing it upright, balanced on the cross of the T-bone, like an obelisk.
A huge thank you to Eleonora of Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino for her guest post that has perfectly narrated the essence of Tuscan grilling.