Californians mix Grilled Italian Style Steak with French Wine – Living up to American Tradition

Bistecca Forentina,is a fancy sounding title for an Italian steak -over the coals BBQ, which can be a quite delicious meal.  Cooked on the campfire as a favorite for cook outs or on you home charcoal BBQ or grill.  We like to grill.  The Italian version cooks the steak roughly 4 inches over the coals.  The best Bistecca Forentina is made from the best Italian beef – Chianina beef.  This beef comes from huge white oxen raised, nearArezzo in the Val di Chiana.  Due to their size a steak from these monoliths can weigh as much as six pounds!  This beef has exceptional flavor and unlike so much of European beef is really tender.  For recipe and cooking helps click here.

Here in the states Angus combines excellent taste with tenderness you would use a Porterhouse steak.  The Porterhouse is the largest steak cut from the Loin group. All meat cuts are grouped on the basis of location. Chuck, Rib, Loin, Sirloin, Round, Shank & Brisket, Plate & Flank, Other.  The parts of the beef that had the most muscle use are the tougher pieces, such as the meat coming from the Round.  Loin and Sirloin are of course the most tender. (for a beef chart hereclick )

A fabulous steak such as the Porterhouse requires a bold red wine.  We like the Château La Nerthe 2000, from the area surrounding the village of. Château La Nerthe is an intriguing estate located near the village of  Châteauneuf du Pape, Rhone wine region ofSouthwestern France.  Dating back over 800 years it could likely be one of the oldest wineries.  An intriguing fact is that it was American root stock that saved the estate’s vineyards from an attack of Phylloxera (1870) when then owner Joseph Ducas grafted his vines onto the American root stock. The Le Nerthe estate grows the thirteen varietals as defined by appellation regulations.  The principle red grape used in this wine is the Grenache which is the dominantly planted variety (62%)  There will also be Syrah (18%), Mourvedre (15%) and Cinsaut (4%) with a tiny percent of the remaining varietals.  These variances fall to the winemaker resulting in slight differences in the wine from vintage to vintage.

In addition to a wonderful bouquet, this wine has a silky texture to the raspberry, boysenberry and plum fruit; layered with sweet spice. This wine is best served in a large burgundy glass; even nicer is a burgundy with a chimney variation.  This really allows the full fragrance of the bouquet to tantalize your nose.  It’s best to decant an hour before drinking to let the wine breath.

So, what do you do with the left over steak?  If any… Sandwiches are always good.  However, for hot summer evenings thin sliced steak served cold as the basis for a steak salad is delicious and refreshing.  Or marinated in Olive oil and wine vinegar, served with potato salad on the side also makes a good Indian Summer supper on hot nights.  This easy and tasty recipe is my mother-in-laws (God bless her) who grew up in the days without air conditioning.  As such it is also an “eye ball” recipe, meaning that the amounts of ingredients vary based on the amount of meat.

You’ll need freshly chopped garlic, some sweet basil, lots of freshly chopped curly parsley sea salt & freshly ground pepper.  Put sliced beef in pie plate or low bowel.  Add the aforementioned ingredients toss with some extra virgin olive oil then pour in enough red wine vinegar to cover.  Chill in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

I have used this recipe for left over roast as well as steak and it is a summer favorite.


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