Meat. MEAT. It’s a controversial thing. I was however a vegetarian at one point. Not for fun and not for fashion no no. For 8 years. You’ll never guess what broke my carnal strike. Italy. 2007. Rome. Product: Free range chicken. Yep, damn skippy I ate that. And it’s been love ever since.
After a conversation about food (shocking in Italy, I know) with my new best friend who happens to be a chef was shocked that I hadn’t tasted la bistecca fiorentina yet. The Florentine Steak. I see his point but bear with me, there are a couple reasons:
1. I haven’t won the lottery yet. (America, enjoy your cheap subsidized meat while you can.) 2. I haven’t met the right restaurant.
But my new best friend tells me it’s so easy to make at home and with meat from the market. Italian meat market. ahh. ha. ha. Poor me…
So I forget the cut he tells me to buy. I speak Italian thanks to many years of studying classical writers, historians and poets in college. I might be able to recite a line from Dante’s Inferno in the Florentine dialect, but I am completely ignorant to how to order cuts of meats from the butcher. Sirloin? Flank? Howdya learn THAT?
Google was pretty useless for a meat guide. So I try to just go to the market and pick out a piece that looks like the right kind.
And as you can see, it’s pretty damn hard to decide. There is even a cut of meat called “bicchiere” which means glass (like a glass drinking cup). After talking to the meat man (ohhhh yeeeeeaaaah) the right cut is like 25 euros a kilo. In the restaurant it’s like 45, so not so bad if you can make it at home. I told him I would do a “giro” of the market and come back.
So I finally found a cut. A cut from a traditional Italian bovine race called Chianina, one of the oldest cattle breeds in the world. Tuscans and tourists who know 3 things about Italian gastronomy go nuts about it for some reason.
Tonight I will endeavor this little hunk of Chianina love. So far, I have stuffed eggplant and a caprese salad to pair. Red wine as well, but of course. I decided to make the steak in a tagliata (cut) fashion with arugula and shaved grana padana.
To be continued….