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Rachael created this menu to celebrate her 16th wedding anniversary. She paired Florentine-style bistecca (aka porterhouse) with a beautiful walnut salsa verde and a crusty, cheesy skillet potato side dish. To kick off the special occasion, John made this refreshing Vermouth Spritz.
For dessert, why not stick with the Italian theme and try Buddy Valastro's Classic Cannolis?
Pro Tip from Rach: John likes to grill the bistecca instead of cooking it in a skillet. We have a Big Green Egg and it takes about 6 minutes for medium-rare at full heat (about 700°F). Here's how he does it: Get the heat cranking at the highest level possible with all the top and bottom vents open. Add the seasoned steaks and sear for 2 minutes, flip, and sear the other side for another 2 minutes. (By sear, I mean the steaks were engulfed in flames!) Then you flip them back over and totally choke off the heat, closing the top and bottom, so the flames are gone, but the residual heat is still in there. Cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from the grill, let rest and then slice. If you don't have a Kamado-style grill, that's fine; just adjust the cooking temp and times. The steaks will still be delicious!
For the crispy potato skillet pie, place potatoes and crushed garlic in pot, cover with water by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Salt the water and cook until tender, 12 minutes or so.
Preheat oven to 400°F, with rack at center.
Heat EVOO in a medium cast-iron skillet and melt butter in it over medium heat. Add onions and rosemary and stir 2 minutes.
Whisk up cream and egg, half of the cheese, nutmeg and pepper.
Add potatoes to pan and crush with flat edges of spatula or a potato masher. Combine with onions and rosemary. Add cream mixture, combine gently and flatten, then top with remaining cheese and bake 15 to 18 minutes. Cool 10 to 15 minutes, turn upside down onto platter and top with parsley. Or, just serve from pan, which is equally tasty.
For the bistecca, pat meat dry, cover with rosemary and garlic and let come to room temperature.
Rub meat with crushed garlic and season with rosemary.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and oven to 400°F, with rack at center.
Add salt and coarse pepper to beef.
Spray pan with a light coating of oil; spray steak as well.
Cook steak 7 minutes or so on each side and brown edges, then transfer to oven 5 minutes for medium-rare. Char a lemon in last minutes of cook time, cut-side down.
While beef cooks, make the salsa.
For the walnut salsa verde, combine ingredients in a food processor and pulse into coarse sauce. Adjust seasonings.
Transfer meat to a cutting board and rest 10 minutes, then cut from bone and slice ¼ inch thick across the strip and the filet.
To serve, arrange meat on large platter and top with charred lemon juice, then parsley and walnut salsa and garnish the platter with arugula leaves, cracked olives and walnut pieces.