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Grilled Florentine Steak

Tagliata refers to something cut, in this case the gargantuan bistecca alla fiorentina. A tagliata is the perfect gastronomic solution for the meat lover who cannot imagine tackling an entire bistecca on his or her own. A scattering of shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano and arugula is a favorite way of dressing up a tagliata. Expect a Florentine chef to want to cook your tagliata as tradition dictates: well browned on the outside and red on the inside, so that each cut releases a stream of juices onto the plate.

Serve with a velvety Cabernet Sauvignon from Bolgheri or a dark, rich Chianti Classico Riserva.

Ingredients:

  • 2 T-bone or porterhouse steaks, each about
      1 3/4 lb. and 1 1/2 inches thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups tender, young arugula leaves
  • 2-oz. piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, cut
      into thin shavings with a vegetable peeler
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Directions:

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator 2 hours before grilling.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill and let burn until the coals are covered with white ash. Leave the coals heaped in the center of the grill; do not spread them out. If using a gas grill, preheat on medium-high.

Using tongs (to avoid piercing the meat), set the steaks on the grill, if possible at a slight angle, about 5 inches above hot but not flaming coals (or over the heating element of the gas grill). This will keep the dripping fat from igniting the coals. Grill until the first side is well browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the steaks over, sprinkle with salt and cook for 5 to 7 minutes more. Turn the steaks again and sprinkle with salt. The meat should be well browned on both sides and pink and juicy inside.

Transfer the steaks to a carving board and cut across the grain into 1/2-inch slices, removing the bone. Arrange the slices on a serving platter and top with any juices accumulated on the carving board. Season generously with pepper, scatter the arugula and Parmigiano-Reggiano on top, drizzle with olive oil and serve. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World Series, Florence, by Lori de Mori (Oxmoor House, 2004).