Bistecca alla Fiorentina
(Florentine Steak)
The Florentine steak, grilled flat over an open fire, is a tradition that may go back to the Etruscans. There are paintings from as far back as the 8th century BCE showing this practice.  
Region: Tuscany
Preparation: Easy
Serves: 4 people
Ingredients:
• 4 6 oz. Porterhouse steaks, approximately 1 inch thick;
• 2 Cups red wine vinegar;
• 4 Tbs. Olive Oil;
• 4 Tbs. Flat leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped;
• 6 - 8 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced:
• Salt & freshly ground black pepper.
 
  Preparation:
Place the steaks in a glass or enamel pan, and pour the vinegar and olive oil over them. Add the parsley and garlic, turn the steaks over several times to coat them with the mixture, then let them marinate for two hours at room temperature. Don't let them go longer, as the vinegar will "cook" or toughen them.

Approximately 45 minutes before serving time, start a fire on the grill. When the coals have developed a uniform grey ash coating, and you can't hold your open hand over them at a height of a couple of inches for longer than a count of five, the fire is ready.

Remove the steaks from the marinade and grill for approximately 4 minutes per side for medium-rare, rotating them at a 90 degree angle to the grill after two minutes, to develop a cross-hatched grill pattern.
After 4 minutes cooking, turn the steaks over, add salt & pepper to taste--just a pinch for each. Don't omit this step unless you've been advised specifically by your doctor. The salt "activates" the vinegar in the marinade, and if there's a "secret" to this recipe, it's in this step.

Rotate the steaks 90 degrees on their other side after 2 more minutes of cooking, cook for a final 2 minutes, then remove the steaks from the grill, add salt & pepper to the other side, and allow the steaks to rest for approximately 5 minutes.
 
Notes
The meat must be at least two finger-widths high of choice sirloin and fillet (with the bone; equivalent to a porterhouse steak) and it must be from young animal.
Serve with Spinaci saltati, sauteed spinach, perhaps some steamed green beans, or just an Insalata mista, a mixed green salad.
 

 

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