When my mother and I were in Florence recently, one night we had a lovely dinner right off of Piazza della Repubblica. I went for the tortellini with mushrooms and my mother went for a classic Italian dish…steak with aged balsamic vinegar. I haven’t had steak that much, as I’ve mentioned, I use to be a vegetarian. But when I do have a craving for a steak….I want a really good one.
When the steak came to the table, I couldn’t believe how amazing it smelled. Sounds simple enough, right? Steak with aged balsamic vinegar, nothing too special. Think again. It’s always the simplest dishes that taste that most impressive I find the ones with the fewest ingredients. The steak was just perfect. Now, I’m a little weird….I don’t like my meat rare or medium, I like it medium well. I know, I know. A lot of people tell me that I’m ruining a really good steak cooking it that much and I do apologize to all of the meat purists out there, this is just my preference.
When I got back home, I was determined to make an equally satisfying steak. The key is having a good cut of meat and a really high quality aged balsamic vinegar. Lucky for me, I got quite a few bottles of the good stuff in Italy!! I served the steak with garlic mashed citrus cauliflower and sautéed broccoli rabe, this is my version of an Italian classic steak house dinner. Enjoy!!
Steak with Aged Balsamic Reduction
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. grey sea salt (you can use any salt you want, I love the taste of grey)
4 steaks (you could go with any cut that you like, I went with filet mignon), at room temperature
Prepare a heavy fry pan over medium heat. Add canola oil to pan. Sprinkle the 2 tbsp. of grey sea salt over the pan. The salt is going to act as a base for the steak to sit on. It will add a nice crust to the steak as well. Put the steaks on top of the salt. Cook on each side for 2-5 minutes (depending how rare or well done you like your steak!). Take the steaks out of the pan and allow to rest for 10 minutes. In the meantime…prepare the balsamic reduction.
Aged Balsamic Reduction
¼ cup aged balsamic vinegar
Add the ¼ cup aged balsamic vinegar to the fry pan. It will mix with the leftover liquid from the steak. Cook on low-medium heat until the sauce is bubbling and slightly reduced. Serve immediately drizzled over the steaks.
Mashed Garlic Citrus Cauliflower
4 cloves of garlic
1 cup of olive oil
1 head of citrus cauliflower, if you can’t get citrus, you can use regular cauliflower
2 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
Prepare a medium size glass ramekin with 4 cloves of peeled garlic, pour the olive oil over it. Cook in the oven on 350 degrees for at least 45 minutes or until the garlic is roasted.
Chop your cauliflower, removing the base and any of the leaves. You don’t need to really cut it, just cut it enough so it fits in the pot. Put in a deep pot over high heat and fill with water. Add 1 tbsp salt. Cook until the cauliflower is soft enough to mash, at least 25 minutes. Drain the water and mash the cauliflower, I like to do a rough mash just using a fork. Add 1 tbsp. salt, pepper and the roasted garlic and olive oil. Using an electric hand mixer, mix. You want the garlic to break down a little in the cauliflower and you want to olive oil to mix as well.
Sautéed Broccoli Rabe
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
1 tbsp. crushed red pepper
1 bunch of broccoli rabe, blanched
Prepare a medium size pan over medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Allow the garlic to brown slightly, around 5 minutes. Add blanched broccoli rabe, toss and cook for 10 minutes. You don’t want to overcook the broccoli rabe and end up with mush! You want to keep it nice and crisp!