It’s one of the facts of life: There are few pleasures greater than the culinary marriage of seared, rare beef paired with traditional style Sangiovese, the quintessential red grape that is used to make Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino, and Morellino di Scansano.
There’s just something about the vibrant acidity and red stone fruit flavor of classic Sangiovese that plays against the umami flavors of a rich steak that has been seasoned with sea salt and expertly grilled.
Many travelers to Tuscany will recount such a gastronomic experience after returning from the land of Dante, Michelangelo, and Leonardo.
But if you happening to be opening a great bottle of Sangiovese tonight or this weekend at home and plan to pair it with grilled beef, we wanted to share this grilling tip.
The classic Tuscan cut of beef is the bistecca fiorentina, the Florentine steak, akin to the American Porterhouse (which you can easily obtain at your favorite butcher).
The secret to serving it rare but cooked through (as they do in Tuscany) is to first place it on the grill standing upright, as in the photo above.
This achieves two things: It cooks the bone itself, thus releasing the rich flavor of its marrow; and it heats the entire steak without overcooking it.
You can even use a ridged steak pan or griddle like the one in the photo.
Over high heat, cook the steak upright for a few minutes or until you see that its juices are beginning to be released from the bone.
Then cook on other side very quickly (over high heat) to achieve the desired sear.
Transfer to a warm serving plate or cutting board. Let stand for a few minutes and then slice.
Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil if desired (ideally Tuscan).