When you think of a steak, what comes to mind? It is unlikely that one of the first in my head comes up with the thought of Italy. Although we do not always associate this food with Italian cuisine, it cannot be denied that the Florentine steak (Bistecca Fiorentina) has become one of the most beloved meat dishes in Tuscany and around the world.
It is a symbol of culinary excellence in Florence (Firenze). Every year, thousands of tourists come to the Tuscan capital to taste the famous meat. Where can I try a real and delicious Florentine steak, and why is it so popular? You will find answers to these and other questions in our article.
The origins of the Florentine steak are lost in the mists of time. In Italy they say that the dish and the city can be considered peers. But the history of the name is connected with the Medici family, who ruled in Florence and Tuscany between the 15th and 18th centuries. The legend about the name of the steak says that in 1565, on the occasion of the holiday in Florence, in San Lorenzo square, they made a big feast. The total mass of people were English tourists who, having tasted Florentine meat called carbone or braciola (coal), began to ask again, shouting: “Beef steak!” (Which means “a piece of beef”).
Tuscans liked the new term. So for the meat dish they picked up the Italian name with an English sound – Bistecca. According to some researchers, the Florentine steak spread throughout Italy only in the 1800s, again thanks to the British. Living in Tuscany, they got so used to the local delicacy that they cooked it, even moving to another region of the republic. After the unification of Italy, in 1870, the name also spread throughout the country. And Pellegrino Artusi (Pellegrino Artusi) has contributed to the establishment of the classic recipe. It is hard to imagine, but the Florentine steak has been absent on the tables of Italians for almost 5 years since 2001. This was due to the ban on sales of beef with bone in the European Union to eliminate the risk of spread of rabies. After the normalization of the situation in agriculture, the decision was canceled.
The steak in Florentine again took pride of place on the Tuscan grills. Ideal steak Florentine steak is not just grilled meat. These are certain: breed of animals, cutting thickness and cooking time. Although there are no documented rules on the process of “sculpting” food, Tuscans are extremely scrupulous in this matter. Breed of cows of Chianina Graceful, but at the same time powerful Chianina breed of cattle, also called Chianina, is a secret of the Italian delicacy.
Cows from the Val di Chiana Valley, located between the Tuscan provinces of Arezzo and Siena and the Umbrian provinces of Perugia and Terni, are considered one of the most muscular on Earth. The record of the “hardest representative of cattle in the world” belongs to a bull of this breed. His name was Donetto and he weighed 1,750 kg.
In addition to muscularity, “Kians” are distinguished by elegance and have been appreciated for many centuries. In the past, they were mainly involved in the fields, as they performed heavy work without much effort. Much earlier, the Romans and Etruscans honored the Kiana breed for its beautiful white “robe” and excellent dressing. In triumphal processions, the Kiani bulls marched. For the purity of their color, they were often sacrificed to the gods at important ceremonies. To date, in Marche and Emilia-Romagna, in addition to Chianin cows, meat of individuals of the Maremmana breed is allowed to cook Florentine steak, if only their age is in the range from 12 to 24 months.
Slicing In order to earn the right to be called a Florentine steak, meat must be taken from a specific part of the carcass. Clipping is performed from the lower half of the back at the level of the lumbar vertebrae. The presence of the vertebral bone is mandatory, as it is a hallmark of the dish. After cutting, the steak has a classic T-shape, similar to a heart, with a small layer of fat. The thickness of a piece of meat is equal to the width of 3-4 fingers or at least 4-5 cm. It goes without saying that depending on the size of a serving of beef its weight will vary.
In any case, it should not be less than 800 g. In the United States there are twin cities of Florentine dishes – T-Bone steaks and Porterhouse. For both the first and second, the meat is cut from the middle of the lumbar part of the animal. They are distinguished by the thickness of a piece of beef: for T-Bon – not less than 1.3 cm, for Porterhouse steak – not less than 3.2 cm. How to cook Perfect Florentine steak is prepared from well-aged beef. The minimum ripening period is 15 days. Gourmets prefer meat with aging for 30 days or more. During ripening, biochemical processes occur that change the structure of the meat, make it much more tender and aromatic. Excess moisture evaporates, the weight of the product leaves.