Monday, June 18, 2012

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Many weeks ago Ann said that she would like to have her parents and some friends over for Father's Day and would like to do a big porterhouse on the grill and serve it sliced over a bed of arugula with shaved parmigiano reggiano. What she was really saying is that she wanted me to get the steak and grill it! On Father's Day, she wanted me to cook, of all things! ;) No matter! I love to cook and I really get to do so very little of it at work that I don't mind cooking on my days off.

Ann's parents Bob and Mary joined us along with Jen and Dewi and Donald and Terry. Jen spent the morning baking and brought another of her infamous shiitake and fingerling tarts along with cheese- and herb-filled puffs and puff pastries layered with mustard.

Shiitake and Fingerling Tart from Jen
Herb- and Cheese-Filled Puffs; Puff Pastry
With the appetizers we started with Prosecco and then moved to the bottle of Philippe Portier Quincy that Dewi brought. I have had more Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre than Quincy in my life, so I was expecting a dry and crisp wine and not the big rich super-ripe Sauvignon blanc with a hint of residual. It reminded me much of Jean Thévenet's Mâcon-Clessé inasmuch as it stands so far out from its peers.

Donald Brought us Flowers from his Garden
What to serve with beef? Potatoes of course! And it is prime potato season right now in Virginia. These beautiful baby red potatoes were just dug and are at their peak of flavor. While I was grilling the beef, Donald and Ann tended the potatoes. There is no better dish in this world than a dish of new potatoes, simply boiled, and then mixed with butter, salt, pepper, and lots of fresh Italian parsley. That we used truffle salt on the potatoes just did not suck!
The First New Potatoes of the Year

Boiled, with Butter, Parsley, and Truffle Salt
Way back in May, I started talking with Keith Marx at North American about custom cutting me a couple of gigantic porterhouses from his grass-fed Angus beef. They arrived about the first of June and have been dry aging on this rack in the cooler ever since. You can see that I lost a little weight by dry aging the steaks, but that only concentrates the flavor. But Holy Steak, Batman! These Fiorentinas are 4" thick! I don't eat much beef, but when I do, let it be said that I don't screw around!

Awesomeness! Dry Aged Grass Fed Porterhouses (yep, that's 4"/10cm thick)

Liberally Rubbed with Olive Oil, Salt, and Cracked Pepper

Charred on one Side
I only lit the two right burners of the four burners on the grill and let the grates get hot for 30 minutes before putting the steaks on. I gave the steaks two turns of about five minutes each before flipping them and giving them another two turns of about 10 minutes total. At this point, I moved them off the direct flame and onto the two unlit burners on the left side of the grill and let them bake for a few minutes longer, checking the temperature with a thermometer every couple of minutes. I pulled one steak at 110F (rare) in the center and the other at 120F (medium rare). After this, they sat for 30 minutes on the cutting board before slicing.
Resting for 30 Minutes

Top Loins on Left; Tenderloins on the Right

Sliced, on a Bed of Arugula with Tomatoes and Shaved Parmigiano
For dessert, Ann made great use of a loaf of focaccia and our local berries (strawberries, red raspberries, black raspberries, and blueberries in a dessert that she calls a Summer Pudding, like a trifle without the cream. Most delicious and not too shabby with a glass of '77 Warre's Port.
Ann's Summer Pudding
The Label Says it All
My photography was really off this weekend. Almost none of the candids I snapped were worth a darn. I can understand that towards the end of an evening, the photo quality might go to hell, but the candids were the first things I shot. Go figure.

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