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Jun 29, 2008 05:25 PM

Tuscan Steak - Breaking All the Rules

I saw the son of Lydia Bastianich do this on one of those PBS cooking shows:
take a thick steak, grill it super hot until it is charred on the outside but only 100 degrees F (i.e. still blood raw) interior, tent it with foil, and let it sit 20-30 minutes until it is room temp.
I like this TV show, because the end result they display on-camera is the exact dish prepared on the air. For this dish, they sliced it and it was the most perfectly medium rare I have ever seen. I was flabbergasted.

So, the first time I got good quality steaks, I tried it. It worked (halleluiah); I eat meat 7 days a week, and this was one of the best beef dishes I have ever had. We got 1 inch porterhouses. I sliced off the filet piece, leaving the bone attached to the NY strip (called shell steak back East). I prepared both cuts separately. Both turned out great.

Well, OK, I stuck a huge chunk of butter on the meat before resting. At the end of the allotted time, I sliced the meat into bite sized pieces, drizzled the melted butter on top, and sprinkled that chunky, expensive ($20 for a 8 oz jar) sea salt on top. Interesting side note: there were NO meat drippings on the plate, only melted butter. So, there is really no need for a pan sauce, since all of the meat juices stayed in the meat where they belong. Butter and sea salt where the only flavorings, and this was all the meat needed for great taste.

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  1. This is my favorite beef dish as well, reserved for very special occasions. Next time try this: let the resting steak reabsorb its juices on a platter lined with herbs. I use thyme, rosemary, parsley etc. Let it rest, as you say, under foil for 20-30 minutes and when you bite into it you'll find that its absorbed some of the herb taste along with the juices. It's fabulous.

    I got this idea from a friend who got it from a chef in Tuscany. While on vacation there he ate it in a restaurant and got right up from his seat and ran out into the kitchen to talk to the chef.
    It never fails. 105 was that chef's desired temperature, by the way. And he used gray (finishing) salt on top, which has large flat flakes. This really looked good on Lidia's show and of course they washed it all down with supertuscan wine. Mmmmmm!

    1. The first time I ever had steak prepared this way was in a steakhouse in Italy along the PiFiLi, done with Chianina beef.
      I could not believe that anything could taste so miraculously wonderful with so very little done to it.
      The salad served with it was the same. Nothing but some butter lettuce dressed with the smallest amount of olive oil, salt, and lemon juice. Tossed in the kitchen, the lettuce barely coated - barely.
      We've done this at home. Works with good beef but with prime steak, it's sublime.