Cast Iron

Steak with Arugula, Lemon and Parmesan

April 20, 2010
7 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 2
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

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • MBR
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  • Blissful Baker
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29 Reviews

Yvonne P. January 5, 2019
The first time I made this 🤯. Steak and lemon? What, that can’t be???
It is a family favorite now, making again tonight. Thank you for expanding my culinary horizon!
Sue July 24, 2018
Love this recipe. So quick and easy to make and really delicious.
Merrill S. July 25, 2018
Really glad to hear you liked it! I'm making it myself for probably close to the 100th time tomorrow... :)
MBR April 30, 2017
If you cook the steak sous vide (I used 128 degrees), there's still just enough rendering in a hot cast iron pan to quickly get the char and leave behind the goodies. Before adding the water, I first caramelized a minced shallot and then added some balsamic that admittedly changed the flavor profile, but worked out well and kept the campers happy.
Two T. June 17, 2016
Merrill-I love the simplicity of this dish. I discovered my strip is more like 3/4 inch--would you reduce just the oven time or the searing time too? Thank you! Not a super experienced beef cooker over here but learning : )
Merrill S. July 25, 2018
This reply is ridiculously late, but somehow I missed your question. I'm sure you've long since figured this out, but I would just reduce the oven time.
twinjadojo January 11, 2014
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.
Gypsy May 27, 2013
My only problem was the smoke alarm going off. The lack of a fan over the stove makes this a smokey mess.
rederin October 28, 2012
Made this a couple of weeks ago and forgot to comment. Fantastic!
Merrill S. October 28, 2012
Glad you liked it!
Blissful B. September 8, 2012
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."
Iris V. May 11, 2012
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
MaureenOnTheCape February 10, 2012
I just made this. Yum.
mtrelaun August 6, 2011
Made this last night, and I'll be making it again and again and again! It's perfect.
kallekenkel July 25, 2011
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!
katekack July 13, 2011
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!!!!
Skinnyfatkid April 22, 2011
Those parmesan curls are making my mouth parm!
boulangere April 1, 2011
How beautiful! I'm meeting my daughter in Florence in July. I can only hope we find ourselves in the same spot!
linzarella March 31, 2011
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.
linzarella July 13, 2011
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.
Dono March 29, 2011
This is exceptional! I am back in Rome as I eat this.
Dono May 22, 2011
Making this again tonight for the woman I took to Rome.....wish me luck :>)
Maggie G. March 6, 2011
Made this with roasted potatoes a few weeks ago and LOVED it! It's fresh and easy!
nancy O. February 16, 2011
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.
AlainB October 14, 2010
Made this last night, came out great!
Merrill S. October 14, 2010
So glad you liked it!