Pretty in Pink Pickles

Red Onion Pickle 

Every so often something very simple turns out to be utterly amazing. Like these gorgouse red onion pickles. They are so crunchy, sweet, sour, cold and refreshing I am almost done with the whole jar in one week! The original recipe is from The Zuni Cafe cookbook, but you can find a very good adapted recipe right here. The original recipe asks you to add a star anise pod to the brine, and I suggest you do that. It really adds an extra dimension of flavor to this addictive pickle. My favorite use so far is on cheese sandwiches, but I am looking forward to trying them on a nice thick juicy burger or a good Cochinita Pibil with corn tortillas.

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Bistecca All Fiorentina 1-2-3

 

Florentine steak or Bistecca Alla Fiorentina is the holy grail of Tuscan cuisine. Yet, what you get in most run of the mill restaurants is a flimsy 1/2 inch piece of beef with no pedigree or taste. Here is my method for making the best Fiorentina possible, without going to Tuscany and buying the real Chianina beef steak.

Step 1 – Call your butcher and get a nice Prime grade T-bone or Porterhouse steak. It needs to be at least 2 inches thick (enough for 2 people and the one pictured here), but even 3 or 3.5 inches is better (if you have more people to feed). I know this is not cheap, but I only do this once or twice a year and it is so worth it.

Step 2 – Make an herb mixture with 1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage, 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary and 1 Tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley. Add enough extra virgin olive oil to make a loose paste. Season the steak with kosher salt and let it rest at room temperature for and hour. You do not want this to be cold when you grill it, so let it rest till it warms up.

Step 3 – Light a charcoal grill, rub the steak with the herb mixture and when the grate is very hot grill your steak. It should grill till nice and charred on both sides but still rare inside. About 10 minutes on the first side and another 8 on the second should do (unless you are grilling a cold steak, in that case I cannot help you). Let it rest for ten minutes, carve, drizzle with good olive oil and serve with sauteed garlicky spinach dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.

 

Note: In this recipe, the olive oil added at the end and mixed with the spinach is very important. So, get the best you can afford Extra Virgin Olive Oil.