Everybody loves a good steak, and this is a particularly impressive one. Even though the Italians in general are not big steak- eaters, the area of Tuscany around Florence is famous for its mammoth steaks, known as bistecca alla fiorentina. Maremma is a very rustic county in Tuscany— to the west, toward the Tyrrhenian Sea— where a substantial number of cattle are raised. The cut of meat used here is a Porterhouse, which is similar to a T- bone steak but with a larger cross- section of the tenderloin (filet mignon) along one side of the “T.” Either will yield good results, but choose a prime steak that has been aged properly for 2 to 3 weeks, and make sure it is cut evenly in thickness, with some of the protective outer fat left on.
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 2 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 Porterhouse steak, 2½ to 3 inches thick, about 3 pounds, at room temperature
Finely chop the rosemary leaves with a chef ’s knife, and place in a mortar with the salt. With a pestle, crush and grind them together into a coarse rub. Continue grinding with the pestle as you drizzle in the olive oil, until the mixture has thinned to spreading consistency. Cover, and set aside.
Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Lay the steak on the grill, and grill the first side for 8 to 10 minutes, until the meat is well browned and marked. Turn onto the other side, and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes. Set the steak on its edges, letting it stand or holding it with tongs, and grill the edges until browned, about 5 minutes total. Insert an instant- read thermometer into the center of the meat. It’s rare to medium rare if it reads 120 degrees and feels springy to the touch. If it is below 120 (and it may be, depending on the thickness of the steak and the heat of your grill), continue to grill, flipping and checking the temperature every 2 minutes.
When done, set the steak on a platter or carving board, and immediately brush it with the rosemary paste, coating it lightly on all surfaces. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes, allowing the natural juices and the seasonings to permeate the entire cut.
To serve, cut the large loin and tenderloin meat sections away from the T- bone. Once you have the two pieces of meat, slice each piece on a slight bias into ½-inch- thick strips, keeping the slices together and reposition the sliced piece of meat back on the T- bone in the original position. Pour any juices released in carving over the meat, and drizzle with a bit of extra- virgin olive oil.