For Dad

WARNING: If you are not into consuming meat, you probably don’t want to read this.

38 ounce Porterhouse with garlic/rosemary smashed potatoes

Steak was arguably my father’s favorite food. Dad was enamored of those steakhouses that used to dot Manhattan where they charbroiled the meat to order in the front window.  The meals were relatively inexpensive and the meat pretty good.

As far back as I can remember we managed to have steak on the table at least once each week.  In the winter, my father would cook them under the broiler of the oven.  In the summer it was charcoal grill all the way.

When home gas grills first became available, Dad bought one that ran on natural gas rather than LPG and ran a line out to it. No more smoking up the kitchen, he could “grill” a steak year round.

I’m fond of steak, too, but not on a weekly basis. In fact, I can go a couple or three months between servings of “big meat” but when the craving hits, nothing else will do.

After returning from an extended trip to Italy, a friend recently noted her regret at not having tried the famed ‘bistecca alla fiorentina”: a porterhouse cut of the famously tender and flavorful Chianina beef indigenous to Tuscany.

That comment flashed me back to our experience with that wonderful steak served up from a wood fired grill in a restaurant in the little mountain village about 25 miles northwest of Florence. Four of us had put in a long hard day of being tourists and stopped at the restaurant on our way to our apartment on a nearby farm.  Two immense slabs of beef, a simple salad and, of course, some local red wine were just what we needed. 

The memory planted a seed.  I knew I’d be visiting Pat’s Market in Lincroft after a charity bicycling event at Brookdale Community College.  Pat’s is an Italian deli and honest to goodness butcher shop that serves up some mean sandwiches and hosts a meat counter full of tempting slabs of beef and pork.

I ordered my sandwich and then studied the meat case so I’d be ready for the inevitable question “Would you like something else?”

Down in the front of the case, at the head of a row of gorgeous porterhouses was a steak with a nice sized filet portion as well as the sirloin.  That and a filet mignon for Ann completed the order.

Sunday, after the Thunder game, I fired up the grill and cooked up the steaks.  Ann’s 8 ounce filet was a lovely size.  My 38 ounce monster by rights, should have fed two people (or more) but I allowed myself to indulge since I’d put in 25 miles on the bike for a charitable cause the day before. A salad, some garlic/rosemary smashed potatoes and a bottle of Brunello.  What more could anyone want?

So treat your Dad this year (and the rest of the family) and grill up a large, thick porterhouse. If he’s a real carnivore, he may be up to eating one whole steak himself.

Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Porterhouse Florence-style)

  •  Porterhouse steak, dry aged if possible, a minimum of 1 to 1½ inches thick
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Optional

Pre-heat your grill or ignite your charcoal.  You will want a very hot area on one part of your grill and a cooler area on the other.  Bring steak to room temperature.

Lightly salt, but liberally pepper one side of the meat.  When grill is ready, place steak, seasoned side down over hottest part of grill.  After three minutes, season the top side and then flip it. Cook another three minutes.

Depending upon your preferred degree of doneness and the thickness of the steak, your meat may be ready if you like it rare.  If it is exceptionally thick or large, move it to the cooler side of the grill and cook to desired doneness, flipping once more if need be.

The object here is to have a nicely seared exterior but a juicy (and, in my case red) interior.

Remove from grill, rub each side with the cut garlic and drizzle a little very good olive oil and/or lemon juice over the meat and serve. For presentation, the meat can be cut from the bone and neatly parsed in to ¼ inch slices for easier serving.  Serves one hearty beef eater or two to three regular folks.

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5 Responses to “For Dad”

  1. Mark Says:

    Yup. You’ll need an angioplasty soon. But what a way to go!

  2. Jim Carlucci Says:

    Nah. I only do that once a year or so.

  3. Tony Belkowski Says:

    Oh yes yes yes!

  4. Mark Says:

    I downloaded the photo and made it the wallpaper on the upstairs computer. I may emulate (to a degree) later this week.

  5. Jed Says:

    I can’t say I’ve ever eating anything with wild boar sauce, but I really want to try it! Another great site to buy ingredients is Pasta Cheese

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