When In Ro…Tuscany (Continued)

tuscany landscape

The region of Tuscany is known for its simple, but sought-after cuisine. I’m going to stay on the Tuscan wavelength and showcase some additional recipes from the recipe booklet I garnered from the Natirar cooking class. Perhaps one of the most famous gems from the region is the florentine steak. Because of the size and cut of the florentine steak, the price and rich quality of this type of meat are generally much higher than other cuts of beef. The recipe is fairly straightforward and isn’t time consuming, so I highly suggest giving this one a go. Absolutely delicious.

All recipes courtesy of Ninety Acres Culinary School:

Florentine Steak
Serves 4

Canola oil for grill
Black peppercorns, crushed very coarse
-2 rib eye steaks, at least 1 1/2″ thick, at room temp
Coarse sea salt
2 peeled cloves of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil

Lightly brush grill rack with oil. Preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan on high heat.

Rub coarsely ground pepper on both sides of the put (start by putting seasoned side down first).

Grill the steaks for 6 minutes per side. After turning, sprinkle grilled side with sea salt. When the other side is done, sprinkle with salt.

When the steaks are done but still on the grill, rub garlic over them on both sides.

Transfer to a plate and drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Rest meat for a few minutes prior to serving.

For those that don’t fancy red meat, here is a Tuscan Chicken with Lemon, Olives, Capers, and Rosemary recipe that is sure to stir your both your appetite and taste bites:

Tuscan Chicken with Lemon, Olives, Capers, and Rosemary
Serves 6-8

6 chicken breast halves bone in and skin on
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary or 1 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
3 large peeled garlic cloves
Salt  and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
4-5 thin julienne strips of lemon peel
10 oil cured olives, pitted and sliced lengthwise
1 tbsp. small capers, rinsed and patted dry (in salt, rinse before cooking)
2 tsp. minced rosemary

Dry chicken breasts with paper towels. Place oil in a sauté pan that is large enough to fit the chicken pieces without overlapping. Turn heat to medium high, lightly browning the chicken on all sides.

When chicken is browned, add rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes while turning the chicken pieces once or twice.

Add wine, turning the heat up a bit and let it cook for a minute. Turn the heat down to medium low and cover the pan. Cook until chicken is tender. Plan for a cook time of roughly 40-45 minutes.

Turn off heat and transfer chicken to a warm platter.

Tilt pan and with a spoon, remove fat. Add lemon juice, lemon peel, olives, capers, and rosemary. Turn heat to medium high and with a wooden spoon, scrape loose any brown pieces that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Pour pan sauce over chicken and serve immediately.

Now that we have the main courses set in stone, it’s time to mix and match them with the perfect side accompaniments. I’m very much a proponent of the philosophy that a side dish can make or break a meal. This Tuscan Home Fries recipe features a triad of herbs, garlic, and Idaho potatoes. Cooking times vary depending on the oven and I’ve found that often times with this one, it doesn’t take nearly as much time as the recipe states. The second side is a Sautéed Spinach that borders on what can only be described as pure and utter gluttony, due to the butter and Parmesan cheese content (or maybe only for me, due to the fact that I usually double or triple said amounts).

Please, feast:

Tuscan Home Fries
Serves 6-8

Idaho potatoes, scrubbed, dried and cut into wedges
6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. rosemary, chopped
3 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
3 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped

Preheat oven to 425.

Toss potatoes with oil, salt, and pepper. Place in a single layer on sheet pan and roast for 35-40 minutes. Turn potatoes over halfway and continue roasting until crispy.

In a bowl combine herbs and garlic. Place herb mixture on a clean sheet pan.

Remove potatoes from oven and transfer to sheet pan with herbs and toss to coat.

Sautéed Spinach
Serves 5-6

3 pounds fresh spinach, rinsed and stems removed if large
4 tbsp. butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place wet spinach in a large pot and set over high heat. Cover pot and cook until wilted.

Drain and set aside in a colander to cool.

When spinach has cooled, squeeze water out. Use a ricer for an easy way to do this.

Add butter to a large sauté pan. Set on medium heat and add spinach. Sauté for 5 minutes. Remove and season to taste.

Add grated Parmesan cheese and cover to keep warm.


Rounding out an ‘Evening in Tuscany’ 

One thought on “When In Ro…Tuscany (Continued)

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