Food Sin # 2-Steaks
As a child growing up on Guam we got most of our meat from Australia and imported from the United States. Every once in a while we would go to a Sizzler, a Chuck's Steak House or some other meat restaurant for a great steak. We loved steaks so much my younger sister earned the nickname T-Rex, as she could eat an entire T-bone steak on her own, and she was only 6 or so at the time. We learned to love our steaks rare and bloody. In the U.S. you can have your meat cooked anyway you like, in Italy they will cook it medium-rare to rare unless you tell them to not to.
Steaks are big business here in Italy, with no one mentioning calories, fat, or cholesterol. Everyone knows the famous Bistecca alla Fiorentina, the famous steak from Florence that may weigh as much as 2 kilos each. The secret to this steak is the way it is cooked, over a real wood fire. The smokey taste is addicting and once you've had it, you'll never forget it. The Florentine steak come from the breed of cow called the Chianina (pronounced Kee-a-nee-na, one of the oldest breeds of cattle in the world. Originating in Central Italy, Chianina were initially introduced into the United States in 1971.
This is a cut version of the Bistecca alla Fiorentina, called a Tagliata.
In Piemonte we have a famous breed of double muscled cow called the Piedmontese. It's this double muscling that make the Piedmontese one of the leanest types of beef available. These special cows are from the northern Italy. The first Piedmontese animals exported to North America arrived in Saskatchewan, Canada in the fall of 1979. These cows are gentle and beautiful. When visiting Piedmonte, you must sample the vitello albese, a very special veal tartar that is chopped by hand (babutta al cotello). (In winter, you may get them with shaved truffles on top.) And the filetto di fassone, a filet of this very special type of beef. You will not be disappointed.
This is the vitello albese.
When shopping at the local butcher I am in the habit of asking for very thick cuts of meat. Most butchers pound filets of pork, beef and chicken breasts quite thin but when we want to eat a good steak, I ask for the thickest cut possible. This piece weighed over 2 kilos, almost 5 pounds. No, we did not eat it all ourselves, I saved a bit for steak salad the next day.
Our dinner waiting to be cooked.
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