TUSCAN STEAK WITH PARMESAN BUTTER, VINCOTTO & ARUGULA
Visiting Tuscany teases all of the senses. Rolling hills dotted with miles of sunflower fields, solitary cypress trees, centuries old farmhouses, vineyards, and olive groves seem to jump from the paintings of Renaissance masterpieces. Sun-drenched rustic charm is as true of its landscapes as it is of its people. Tuscan steak, known as Bistecca alla Fiorentina to the locals, is one of the most popular dishes in the region. A bed of spicy arugula, sweet sapa, and buttery steak arrive at the table glistening. Finished table side with a drizzle of truffle oil this meat lover's fantasy dish is elevated to over the moon status. If guests have ravenous appetites, serve a whole unsliced steak per guest as they do in Italy. For even more authenticity, substitute porterhouse steak. Beware: each porterhouse weighs in at over a pound! This is such a beloved recipe, however, the portions have been adjusted to make it healthy enough to serve more frequently as an indulgent weeknight dinner. It is every bit as tasty sliced and draped over the greens. Boneless rib-eye steaks are juicy and easy to slice for portion control. Lovely with a side of BUTTERNUT, MASCARPONE & ROSEMARY RISOTTO.
Nota bene: Vincotto is a dark, sweet, dense Italian condiment made by slow cooking and reducing non-fermented grapes for many hours. Substitute balsamic vinegar if vincotto unavailable. Wait until the steak is room temperature before cooking to insure a beautiful crust and perfectly cooked interior. Flipping the steak every two minutes insures that the crust does not penetrate too deep.
1. Mix grated Parmesan, butter and sea salt flakes in a small bowl.
2. Place a 8" x 10" piece of waxed paper on the counter. Use a spatula to transfer the butter mixture on to the waxed paper and shape the butter into a 1" diameter log. Place in the refrigerator.
3. A half hour before cooking, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and sprinkle generously with sea salt and pepper.
4. Place two cast iron enameled skillets in the oven and turn the oven to 500 degrees F. Leave to heat for 30 minutes.
5. Divide arugula among six plates and top with several strips of Parmesan. Squeeze lemon juice over each pile of arugula.
6. Remove the skillets from the oven and place on top of burners on the stove. Turn the heat to high. Add a light coating of oil to each skillet. When smoking hot add the steak. Cook 2 minutes per side and flip for an additional 2 minutes. Repeat. Flip once more for 1 minute each side for medium-rare.
7. Remove the butter log from the refrigerator, unwrap and slice the butter into 6 to 8 pieces.
8. Transfer steak to a cutting board, top each steak with two slices of the parmesan butter and tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
9. Let the skillet cool for 5 minutes and then add the vincotto, shallots, garlic, and sugar to the skillet. Cook stirring constantly until the mixture is reduced to a glaze (about one minute).
10. Slice the steak into thin strips and place several pieces over the arugula.
11. Spoon the vincotto glaze over the steak and salad.
12. Finish with a drizzle of truffle oil (optional) or extra virgin olive oil.
Serves 6 TO 8
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Parmesan strips 1" by 2" (use vegetable peeler)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
4 (12)-ounce rib-eye steaks
1/2 cup vincotto (or balsamic vinegar)
1/2 cup shallots, finely minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon packed dark brown sugar
6 cups arugula, washed & spun dry
Truffle oil (optional), or a robust extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & freshly coarse ground black pepper