steak florentine

Steak “Florentine” on warm kale salad with shallots, chiles, and Meyer lemon vinaigrette. Photo by Michael Ruhlman.

When I’m in NYC, I live in a studio in the West Village with a teensy kitchen. I see why New Yorkers don’t cook more often. But I’m trying to develop strategies for cooking for one in tight quarters (and keeping a journal about it). This means one-pan meals (my go-to pan is a 12″ cast iron skillet), and dishes that result in a second and third leftover meal. The first, on a frigid weekend night, was a simple milk-based bolognese (diced San Marzanos added late). The next day I asked a friend what I should cook next and she said immediately, “Steak Florentine!”

There seems to be no agreed-on specifics as to what this dish is. I presumed it involved spinach. But no. It seems only to designate a steak from particular Florentine breeds of cattle, usually a thick T-bone, sliced and shared. If anyone has intelligence what designates steak Florentine, please announce yourself.

I bought a fabulous dry-aged strip from Hudson & Charles, great butcher! Seasoned it and left it out for four hours to warm up. I seared it in the hot skillet, filling my studio with smoke, then finished it for about five minutes in a hot oven.

While it rested, I softened a sliced shallot and three sliced chiles in the same skillet, then added chopped kale, standing in for the spinach I’d thought was part of the dish, and which I had on hand from a previous meal. I tossed it, seasoning with salt, until it turned a vivid green, a couple minutes, then seasoned it with the juice from a half a Meyer lemon, to taste. Sliced the steak and served it atop the salad. Fabulous one-pan meal.

Last night, I ate the rest of the steak, along with pasta left over from the bolognese, cooked in olive oil and garlic and topped with a fried egg. Another satisfying meal.

And so begins my exploration of cooking for one in tight quarters. All meal suggestions welcome!

Off this morning on assignment to Hawaii, Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. Never been and can’t wait.


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