This summer, import a little Italy onto your backyard grill.
The Mediterranean country may better known for pasta, but it’s given the world a method of preparing steak that any beef-loving Kansan will enjoy – Bistecca Alla Florentina. The recipes calls for a beef steak, simply seasoned and grilled as rare as you wish, then sliced brushed with a mixture of olive oil and fresh herbs.
Here in Wichita, Chef Marshall Roth brought the dish to Siena Tuscan Steakhouse in the Ambassador Hotel. In fact, he said, “The whole concept of Siena came out of this one dish.”
For this article, Roth put together a full menu of grilled dishes that highlight the fresh flavors of summer. It starts with panzanella, a salad of tomatoes and grilled bread; work its way through steak, asparagus and Tuscan-style beans; and finishes with a simple strawberry-basil cake.
“The whole idea is take everything outdoors,” he said.
Take Roth’s word for it, you won’t even miss the pasta.
1/2 loaf ciabatta
2 tomatoes, chopped
5 leaves basil, minced
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Cut ciabatta into thick slices and grill over medium heat until toasted. Cut pieces into cubes. Combine bread with tomatoes and basil.
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt and sugar. Toss salad with dressing and serve immediately.
BISTECCA ALLA FLORENTINA
3 lbs. beef steak (T-bone, Porterhouse, rib-eye or K.C. Strip)
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
5 cloves garlic
Zest and juice of two lemons
1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
Season steaks with salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat until desired doneness is reached, turning just once if possible (about 7 minutes total per inch for rare, 10 for medium rare or more for well done).
Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk together olive oil, herbs, garlic, shallot, lemon and salt.
Remove meat from fire and let rest, covered, about five minutes. Slice meat against the grain and place on serving platter. Brush with herb-olive oil mixture and serve.
Note: The herb-olive oil recipe makes more than you’ll need for this dish. Store the rest in the refrigerator and use within a few days. It’s great on grilled chicken and fish.
1/4 lb. pancetta or bacon
6 cups chicken broth
1 lb. white beans, pre-soaked according to package directions
3 bay leaves
5 sprigs thyme
6 cipollini onions, or 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
6 large green olives
1/4 cup butter
Dice pancetta or bacon and fry until crisp; add onions after fat is rendered and brown slightly. Place pancetta and onions in a cast-iron Dutch oven or other covered flame-proof dish along with chicken broth, beans, bay leaves, thyme, onions, olives and butter. Bring to a boil over the hottest part of the grill, then move to a cooler part of the grill where the beans and liquid simmer. Cook about one hour, covered, or until beans are tender.
Note: You’ll want to start this dish well before you grill the steaks as the beans must be brought to a boil and then simmered about an hour, or until tender.
ASPARAGUS WITH CITRUS VINAIGRETTE
Several sprigs fresh thyme and bay leaves
Juice of zest of one each: lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Peel asparagus stalks if thick. Using kitchen twine or heavy string, tie up several stalks along with a sprig of thyme and a bay leaf. Grill over medium-high heat until done.
Meanwhile, whisk together juice and zest of fruit, mustard and olive oil in a bowl. Drizzle over asparagus and serve.
1 white or yellow cake mix, prepared according to directions
Fresh basil, cut into a chiffonade
Divide strawberries and basil between individually-sized, flameproof baking dishes. Divide prepared cake mix between the pans.
Place on medium-high heat, cover and cook until cake is done, about 30 minutes.