Bistecca Fiorentina with artichokes alla Romana and horseradish sauce

One of Tuscany's most famous dishes, the bistecca alla Fiorentina is a huge cut of beef that's traditionally cooked over embers until beautifully charred on the outside and rare in the middle. Here, it's served with artichokes braised in olive oil and a spoonful of horseradish crème fraîche. A bold, gutsy dish from the heart of Italy.

First published in 2021

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Artichokes alla Romana

  • 6 artichokes, violetta variety, large (or 12 smaller ones), with stalks still attached
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 250ml of extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed with a little sea salt

Horseradish sauce

Method

1
Begin by preparing the artichokes. Snap off the stalks and cut or break off the tough outer leaves, starting at the base, until you are left with the pale inner heart. Cut off the pointy top of the leaves and remove the prickly choke with a teaspoon. To prevent discoloration, place each prepared artichoke in a bowl of cold water with the juice of 2 lemons
  • 6 artichokes, violetta variety, large (or 12 smaller ones), with stalks still attached
  • 2 lemons, juiced
2
At this point, if barbecuing the steak, light the barbecue so it’s nice and hot when it comes to cooking the steak
3
Pour the extra virgin olive oil into a pot large enough to contain all the artichokes and add the crushed garlic. Put in the artichokes, stems facing upwards, jammed together so that they stay upright. Add enough water to come one-third of the way up the globes and bring to the boil
  • 250ml of extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed with a little sea salt
4
Reduce the heat, cover with a sheet of baking paper and place a lid on top. Cook gently for about 30 minutes or until the water has evaporated and the artichokes have begun to brown at the bottom and are tender—test for tenderness using a sharp pointed knife. The timing will depend on the size and freshness of the artichokes. You may need to add more water and cook for longer, but when they’re ready the artichokes will be tender and caramelised
5
While the artichokes simmer away, cook the steak. Heat a griddle pan (if not using a barbecue) until smoking hot
6
Season the steak generously with salt and pepper all over. Place on the barbecue grill or griddle pan and seal on all sides. As the steak is so thick, you must turn it frequently to prevent it from burning. Cook the steak for about 15 minutes, at which point it will be rare in some parts and better done in others. Leave to rest before carving
7
While the steak rests and the artichokes finish cooking, make the horseradish sauce. Peel and finely grate the horseradish, then run through with a sharp knife to create a fine pulp. Place in a bowl with the vinegar and lemon juice, then season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir in half the crème fraîche, then give it a taste – it should be thick and not too creamy. Add more crème fraîche a spoonful at a time until it suits your taste
8
To serve, carve the meat, giving each person slices of both fillet and sirloin. Serve alongside the artichokes and a spoonful of the horseradish sauce. Finish with an extra pinch of salt and black pepper and a final drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
First published in 2021

A legendary chef who launched The River Cafe in 1987 with Rose Gray, Ruth Rogers continues to set the bar for seasonal Italian cooking in the UK alongside her all-star team of head chefs Sian Wyn Owen, Joseph Trivelli and Danny Bohan.

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