Italian beefsteak is rarely, if ever, quite as tender as the best American steaks, but what it lacks in mere tenderness it more than makes up for in taste. An Italian cook understands that grilling alone, however skillfully executed and however choice the cut of meat, is not sufficient to produce good flavor. Flavor is coaxed by a confident sprinkling of salt while the meat is cookingnot after it is servedby good olive oil, by pepper and, on occasion, by the judicious use of garlic and herbs. In order to distribute the seasonings more thoroughly, Italians often cut a large grilled steak into several thick slices, thereby producing many more surfaces to coat. A steak served thus is called a tagliata from the Italian tagliare, to cut.
Plus: More Beef Recipes and Tips
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 or 2 sprigs of rosemary
2 boneless rib or strip steaks, cut 2 inches thick
Freshly ground pepper
How to Make It
Put the olive oil and garlic cloves in a large skillet and turn the heat to moderately high. Cook, stirring two or three times, until the garlic is pale gold, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the rosemary; set aside.
Turn the heat under a cast-iron skillet or stovetop grill to very high. When the pan is very hot, add the meatit should sizzle instantly and quickly begin to smoke. Cook it until very dark brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn the meat, sprinkle with salt and brown the other side.
Transfer the pan-grilled steaks to a cutting board and slice them on an angle about 1/2 inch thick; the meat should be quite, quite rare.
Reheat the rosemary oil over moderately high heat. As the oil begins to heat up, put in the steak slices and any juices they may have released. Cook for 1 minute, turning the slices and seasoning with pepper. Transfer the meat to a warm platter and pour all the pan juices on top, holding back the rosemary and garlic. Serve piping hot.
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