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The lighter side of Tuscan cuisine: greens, mushrooms, and tagliata

Above: Bistecca Tagliata, wood-grilled sirloin steak, sliced and served warm over a potato and arugula salad in white truffle oil and lemon vinaigrette, topped with balsamic roasted portabello mushrooms and shaved Grana Padano cheese.

Man cannot live by bistecca alla fiorentina (Tuscan porterhouse steak) alone!

When I lived and worked in Tuscany, cooking at the Ristorante Il Pino, my daily lunch consisted of greens and chicory, topped with grilled fresh porcini mushrooms thinly sliced grilled sirloin steak, known as tagliata (tah-LEE-ah-tah) in Italian. The difference between the tagliata and the bistecca is that the bistecca is always served on the bone, while the tagliata (in this case, the sirloin cut) is served boneless.

Even though dishes like pappardelle al ragù di cinghiale (long, broad pasta noodles topped with wild boar sauce) and bistecca alla fiorentina are among those that first come to mind when it comes great Tuscan cuisine, the toscani (Tuscans) also eat a lot of greens and mushrooms at lunch and dinner.

The above dish was inspired but what my fellow chefs and I would eat on a daily basis in Tuscany for lunch, the only difference being portobello mushrooms instead of fresh porcini.

Today, this is still one of my favorite things to eat for lunch.

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