Steak with Arugula, Lemon and Parmesan

By • April 20, 2010 23 Comments

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Author Notes: The best bistecca alla fiorentina I've had was served to me one warm October evening at an outdoor café in Florence, where I ate alone, watching passersby strolling through the piazza. This Florentine specialty consists of a T-bone or porterhouse steak (traditionally from local Chianina cattle), seasoned with lots of salt and pepper and minimally cooked over an open flame, then thickly sliced, drizzled with olive oil and presented with plenty of lemon wedges for squeezing. When my bistecca arrived that night, it was a T-bone large enough for me and at least two others. Atop the perfect pink slices of beef rested a precariously large mountain of fresh arugula leaves, lightly slicked with olive oil and what I soon discovered were the outrageously flavorful juices from the cooked steak.

Ever since, I’ve found this combination of steak and salad to be uniquely satisfying, especially once the weather starts to turn warmer. The crisp greens and the bright hit of acid from the lemon cut through the richness of the steak, making it a great dish for balmier evenings. Below is my version of the classic, which forgoes a giant T-bone for (slightly) more economical strip steaks.
Merrill Stubbs

Serves 2

  • 2 one-inch thick boneless New York strip steaks
  • Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 cups baby arugula, washed and dried
  • 1 lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt
  • Wedge of parmesan
  1. Bring the steaks to room temperature and season them on all sides with salt and pepper (don’t be stingy with the salt!).
  2. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and set a heavy ovenproof skillet (I like to use cast iron) over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the steaks and brown well on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven and continue to cook until the meat reaches desired doneness (it should take about 10 minutes for the internal temperature to reach 135 degrees, which is medium rare). Transfer the steaks to a plate and set in a warm place to rest, for at least 5, but preferably 10, minutes. Do NOT put the pan in the sink just yet!
  3. Set the hot pan over low heat (make sure not to touch the handle and burn yourself!) and add about ¼ cup water. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to get up all of the browned bits and stir to combine with the water. Set aside.
  4. When you are ready to eat, slice the steaks across the grain into 1/3-inch slices. Reserve any juices that escape the meat. Arrange the arugula on a serving platter. Quarter the lemon. Drizzle a generous amount of good olive oil over the greens, followed by a generous squeeze of lemon juice, a liberal sprinkling of Maldon salt and several grinds of pepper. Lay the slices of steak on top of the greens, and then drizzle their juices and the fond from the pan over everything. Follow with another spritz of lemon and more pepper. Then use a vegetable peeler to top everything with a shower of parmesan curls. Serve immediately with leftover lemon wedges, roasted potatoes and a good Italian table wine.

More Great Recipes: Beef & Veal|Entrees|Salads|Steak

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Comments (23) Questions (0)


over 1 year ago twinjadojo

I made this along with the Spanish Roasted Potato Salad for Christmas Eve dinner. Everyone was groaning with delight. We started with Roederer Estate L'Ermitage, classic shrimp cocktail, olives and roasted olive oil almonds. The combination was perfection, pleased the crowd, and was very easy to (mostly) prepare in advance. I, too, suffered from smokey house, as a result of not having an exhaust fan. Some preparations are just worth it.


over 2 years ago Gypsy

My only problem was the smoke alarm going off. The lack of a fan over the stove makes this a smokey mess.


almost 3 years ago rederin

Made this a couple of weeks ago and forgot to comment. Fantastic!


almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Glad you liked it!


almost 3 years ago Phoenix Helix

This is insanely good. I didn't have the parmesan but followed the recipe exactly otherwise. When I plated it, I thought, "Well, this doesn't look very exciting." Then I tasted it. Wow! The flavors come together beautifully - Simple & Divine. My husband cleaned his plate and said, "Please make this again."


over 3 years ago Iris VK

Made this earlier this week and it was great! Quick and simple enough for a weeknight, but luxurious enough to feel like a special treat


over 3 years ago MaureenOnTheCape

I just made this. Yum.


about 4 years ago mtrelaun

Made this last night, and I'll be making it again and again and again! It's perfect.


about 4 years ago kallekenkel

I believe the Italians call it "Tagliata".. Love this recipe! You can replace the steak with full wheat bread & tofu strips to make a lovely vegetarian alternative!


about 4 years ago katekack

This was so super delish - I followed the lead of Lechef and also drizzled a balsamic reduction over entire salad - YUMMY!!!!!! Thanks so so much!!!!


over 4 years ago Skinnyfatkid

Those parmesan curls are making my mouth parm!


over 4 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

How beautiful! I'm meeting my daughter in Florence in July. I can only hope we find ourselves in the same spot!


over 4 years ago linzarella

in honor of the mini-heat wave we're having in san francisco, i just made this for dinner, with roasted potatoes and wine, and ate it on the roof with friends, looking down at the homeless and hippies of the haight. we tipsily pontificated on the perfection of the meal and moment for an hour. what could be better? thank you.


about 4 years ago linzarella

Well, from a rooftop, you look down on everything, and in the Haight, there are a lot of homeless people and hippies. Whatever subtext you read into that probably says more about you than me.


over 4 years ago Dono

This is exceptional! I am back in Rome as I eat this.


over 4 years ago Dono

Making this again tonight for the woman I took to Rome.....wish me luck :>)


over 4 years ago Maggie G

Made this with roasted potatoes a few weeks ago and LOVED it! It's fresh and easy!


over 4 years ago nancy o

Thanks for including this in your Valentine Menu post. I made it for my husband and daughter for Valentine's Day and we all loved it. A great combination of simple flavors, perfectly balanced, and a quick preparation made this a winning dish that I'll make over and over.


almost 5 years ago AlainB

Made this last night, came out great!


almost 5 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

So glad you liked it!


about 5 years ago CharlieH

Am I mistaken, or is that baby spinach and not arugula in the photograph?


about 5 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

It's actually baby arugula. It looks like spinach, doesn't it?


over 5 years ago lechef

I made this for dinner tonight, but used a filet instead of the NY strip. Delicious! We added a bit of balsamic reduction as a dressing as well, which gave it a bit of sweetness along with the acid of the lemon. I'll be making this again!