June 15th, 2009

My Steak Florentine Tradition

Oh, vegetarian readers, take heed!

Rarely do I eat red meat—no pun intended. After six months and thirty-plus blog postings, this is my first red meat entry. There are times, though, when I do want it, almost feel like my body needs it.

Once I get that beefy iron-rich fix, I am sated for another long while.

I choose either a rib-eye or strip steak, from a grass-fed, pasture raised animal whose life, up until the day of slaughter, was a happy, hormone-and-antibiotic free existence. ( In the Nashville area, Walnut Hills Farm, Emerald Glen Farm, and West Wind Farms all follow these practices.)
Yes, it is pricey, but for those rarest of occasions, plus for ethics and flavor, it’s so worth the expense.

It’s also something that I eat alone.

I live with a vegetarian, and a tolerant one at that. He doesn’t have issues with meat being in the house, or in the skillet, just as long as it doesn’t touch anything that he’s going to put in his mouth. So, the potentially off-putting notion of me carving and gnawing away at some juicy piece of sirloin while he munches a Boca Burger is not the reason.

No, this solo carnivorous undertaking evolved into a funny tradition, born of a time when I worked crazy hours and lived by myself. After an intensive run of cooking all kinds of foods and catering all manner of events, when I had become too bleary to discern what I might enjoy or be capable of putting in my mouth, this was the panacea I discovered.

I would liberally season and pan-sear a steak, pour a glass of red wine, and sit down at a set table to slowly dine. And, slowly, I would restore. In the wake of overwork, that pan seared steak–dined on with the civil accoutrements of china and silver, savored in silence–became the centerpiece of this ritual of nurturing myself.

The marinade, or herb infused coating, is easy to make. It follows a manner used by the Tuscans in cooking their prized Chianina beef. Instead of lemon, I use balsamic vinegar (with a little Worcestershire) as the acid element. With the fresh minced garlic and flat leaf parsley, I add fresh thyme and chives. And, of course, a healthy dose of good olive oil, coarse sea salt and cracked black pepper…the flavors will astonish!

If you can, allow the marinade to permeate the meat for a few hours.

I have an enameled cast-iron grill pan, made by Le Creuset, that works really well for searing, charring, grill-marking the meat. But it’s fine to use a heavy-duty fry pan.You could cook your steak on a charcoal grill, too, but you’d miss out on being able to deglaze the skillet and capture all that cooked-on goodness.

Steak Florentine

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 clove fresh Garlic
1 heaping Tablespoon fresh Italian flat leaf Parsley
2 teaspoons fresh Chives
1 teaspoon fresh Thyme
2 teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt
a few grindings of Black Pepper

New York Strip Steak, bone in

Put the olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, vinegar, remaining seasonings into a food processor fitted with the swivel blade. Pulse the ingredients until the garlic and herbs are chopped throughout the mixture and the olive oil becomes somewhat emulsified with the balsamic and Worcestershire.

Rinse, pat steak dry, then coat both sides with the herbed marinade. Refrigerate and let it soak in the sauce for several hours.

Heat a skillet or grillpan until just under smoking hot. Sear steak for 2 minutes, rotate to get crosshatch marks and cook for another 2 minutes. Flip the steak and repeat.

Remove the steak and let it rest on a plate while you deglaze the pan with water ( or red wine)
Shake the grillpan back and forth, scraping up any cooked on bits, then pour over the steak.
Get your fork and sharp knife and dig in.

Posted in Meats/Poultry, Recipes

11 Responses to “My Steak Florentine Tradition”
  1. rhonda Says:

    yum, yum, yum, and thanks for your link to west wind farms. they have a link to a great site that reminded me of the importance of “GOOD food matters”!! thanks!!!

  2. znachman@gmail.com Says:

    This looks like a simple and delicious meal. Great photos too!

  3. joycooks Says:

    OOHH, my mouth is watering… and my approach to meat from the selection to the preparation is exactly like yours. I am a big fan of West Wind farms too. She even makes a porchetta (already cooked, herbed roast pork) just like the ones I’ve had all over Italy served between two pieces of white bread by street vendors. Yum.

  4. rebekka Says:

    MMMMM that looks divine. I love the shout out to West Wind Farms, joycooks…I buy meat from them frequently. Isn’t it strange how our bodies (particularly us females) just CRAVE red meat every now and then? I hardly know a woman who doesn’t…even vegetarians!

  5. claudia (cook eat FRET) Says:

    nancy, sometimes nothing else will do. although as much as i like the aforementioned vendors for chicken and pork, the local beef just doesn’t ring my chimes. i recently saved my pennies and ordered some natural steaks from lobels. crazy money and worth every penny…

  6. Teresa Blackburn Food Styling Says:

    Hey Nancy, This is exactly what I do when I am about to “hit the wall”, when work is overwhelming and I get stressed and overtired. I, as well, eat very little red meat, but a good steak cooked like yours is a great restorative. Many would argue this I am sure, but by instinct over the years this is what I have done as well. At times nothing else will create that overall sense of satisfaction and well-being. I so much enjoy your blog and visit it often. Bon Apetit, T

  7. Tony Says:

    I had the same ritual, but rather than seared steak, it was a can of tuna. I respectfully request a recipe for seared chicken. I will cook this in the meantime.

  8. mark Says:

    a perfect dinner for an imperfect day

  9. Roger Says:

    Was certainly a hit with the family and guests, perfect timing for the 4th.

  10. Ingrid Says:

    Outstanding dinner! Looks perfect!

  11. Renee Says:

    Love this dish and make it frequently. Thank you for yet another easy, delicious meal!

Comment on This Post: