Bistecca alla Fiorentina with Watercress and Pistachio Salad

Bistecca alla Fiorentina with Watercress and Pistachio Salad
Bistecca alla Fiorentina with Watercress and Pistachio SaladJenny Huang

Modeled after the famed Tuscan porterhouse, which in Italy is most often served in hefty cuts for sharing, this slightly more petite version comes together quickly, easily, and affordably for dinner at home. The simple seasonings of fresh garlic, salt, olive oil, and some hidden anchovies for umami are slicked on using a pastry brush at the end of cooking. Ideally, use a quality steak with some age on it—the meat will be deeply flavorful on its own even without the seasoning.

Equipment

Bistecca alla Fiorentina with Watercress and Pistachio Salad
In this weeknight version of the Tuscan classic, a porterhouse steak just big enough for two is seasoned with rosemary, garlic, and anchovies, then cooked on the stovetop and served with peppery watercress and buttery pistachios
Yield: serves 2
Time: 45 minutes

For the steak:

  • 1 bone-in porterhouse steak (1¼ lb.), preferably aged
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely minced, plus ½ tsp. oil from the jar
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated on a microplane (1¼ tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. very finely chopped fresh rosemary

For the salad:

  • 2 Tbsp. minced shallot (from ½ shallot)
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups loosely packed watercress (2½ oz.)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. raw or roasted, unsalted pistachios
  • Leaves from a few sprigs flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the steak: at the steak dry with paper towels if needed. Season all over with the salt and pepper, rubbing to adhere. Set aside to let come to room temperature, at least 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add the anchovies and their oil, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, and rosemary. Using a fork, stir well to combine.
  3. Prepare the salad dressing: In a separate medium bowl (large enough to fit the watercress later), add the shallot, vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Stir briefly and set aside to rest.
  4. When the steak is at room temperature, set a large cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet over medium heat. Brush the steak with a little oil from the anchovy mixture (avoid any solids at this point). Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and raise the heat to medium-high. When the oil begins to smoke, carefully add the steak and cook, pressing down on the bone with tongs as needed to help the steak remain in contact with the skillet but otherwise not disturbing, until a very dark crust forms on the bottom, about 6 minutes. Using the tongs, flip the steak and cook until the remaining side is deeply browned, about 3 minutes. (If the steak didn’t fully brown in some areas, you can baste it with some of the hot fat from the skillet: Holding the handle with a kitchen towel, tilt the skillet to pool the juices, then use a large spoon to spoon the juices over any patches that need additional browning; repeat several times.) Using the tongs, lift and turn the steak to press its fatty sides up against the surface of the skillet until browned, about 1 minute more.
  5. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and immediately brush all over with the remaining anchovy mixture. Set aside to rest for 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, make the salad: In the bowl with the shallot mixture, whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the watercress and a pinch each of salt and pepper; toss gently and thoroughly to coat.
  7. Using a medium, sharp chef’s knife, cut the meat away from the bone and into two pieces by following the lines of the center bone. Separate both pieces slightly from the bone, reserving the bone. Starting from one end, slice each piece of meat about ½ inch thick against the grain, keeping it in the shape of the original steak.
  8. Transfer the salad to a serving platter, positioning it slightly to one side. Add the steak bone to the other side of the platter and nestle the two pieces of meat back into the bone, overlapping slightly with the salad. Drizzle the meat with any remaining juices from the cutting board. Top the salad with the pistachios and parsley leaves (if using); serve immediately.