Traditionally in Italy, with the exception of the isolated bistecca fiorentina, there is no large steak culture as there is in the United States. The cow was not raised for its meat but as a working animal. Therefore, whenever a full-grown cow was slaughtered, the meat was tough and usually simmered slowly in soups, stews or braised dishes. Sometimes steaks were pounded thin and sautéed in a pan with lots of garlic and parsley. Here is one rendition of the latter, which features the lovely flavor of browned garlic and is adapted to American tastes by using a slightly thicker steak and cooking it to medium-rare. Feel free to substitute a tougher steak, like a chuck steak, which can be tenderized by pounding it thin.
- 6 boneless top loin steaks, each about 8 ounces and 3/4 inch thick
- 8 garlic cloves, chopped very fine
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup Mixed Meat Stock
- 1 teaspoon finely ground fresh black pepper
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
Remove all fat from the steaks and pound them with a meat mallet or a small, heavy saucepan to a thickness of about ½ inch. Season both sides of the steaks generously with salt. Choose two large, heavy, preferably cast-iron skillets in which the steaks fit comfortably. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil into each pan and place them over medium heat. Divide the garlic between the two pans and cook, shaking the pans, until the garlic is golden brown, about 1 minute. With a spoon, push the garlic to the sides of the pan, increase the heat to medium-high and add the steaks. Cook the steaks, turning them once, until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes. Divide the stock, black pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil between the pans. Bring to a boil and boil vigorously for 1 minute. Stir in parsley. Remove the steaks to a hot plate. The sauce should by syrupy otherwise, cook for an additional minute. Check the seasoning and spoon the sauce over the steaks. Serve hot.