I love those enormous loaves of chewy Tuscan bread, but they require a real commitment. No matter how devoted I am to the relationship, anxiety takes over and things ultimately grow stale. Even with help, it’s tough to finish and my freezer management program is already challenged enough. I hate to admit it, but I can be controlled by a loaf of bread.
The other day I bought a Tuscan loaf anyway. While chewing on crunchy charred slices lightly brushed with olive oil warm off the grill, I had a bread breakthrough. It dawned on me to slice up the whole thing, grill it all, seal it in a bag and eat it all week.
Grilled Tuscan bread has an incredible chew, a rich smoky smell, and the olive oil keeps it palatable longer. The best part is how well it takes to re-warming in a toaster oven or briefly back on a low grill. The toast becomes perfectly crisp again and you’ll find yourself building meals around it. The loaf is still in control, but I’m okay with it now.
We made a big one-dish Tuscan Steak Salad just so we could eat more grilled Tuscan toast. It’s a beautiful platter of cool crisp greens, grilled vegetables, cheeses, olives, and warm flank steak drizzled with vinaigrette. Serve with a heaping basket of grilled Tuscan bread. Keep leftover grilled bread sealed in a plastic bag.
- 1 flank steak (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, mashed
- Zest of one lemon
- A few sprigs fresh thyme, rosemary, and oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- For the Salad:
- 1 medium head Romaine lettuce cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 small head radicchio cut into bite-size pieces
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2 medium tomatoes cut into wedges
- 1/3 cup Kalamata olives
- 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced pecorino cheese (cut with a vegetable peeler), optional
- Roasted vegetables, optional (see note)
- Vinaigrette (make your own or use bottled)
Salt and pepper both sides of flank steak liberally and place in sealable plastic bag. Add remaining ingredients to bag and mix well. Refrigerate a couple of hours.
Remove meat from the marinade and discard marinade. Dry all sides of the steak thoroughly with paper towel. A wet steak surface will not develop a crust.
Grill the steak over high heat on oiled grates. Sear about 5 minutes before turning with tongs. Reduce heat or remove to cool part of the grill and cook to desired doneness (125° for rare, 135° for medium rare).
Remove the steak to a cutting board, cover lightly, and let rest for 10 minutes.
Cut steak across the grain into thin slices. Serve with plenty of grilled bread.
For the Salad:
Combine romaine, radicchio, and red onion and arrange on a large platter.
Arrange tomato slices, olives, and roasted vegetables around edges of lettuce. Drizzle with vinaigrette.
Place the sliced warm steak over the center of the salad. Sprinkle cheeses over salad. Serve with grilled sliced Tuscan bread.
Note: Grill fresh vegetables such as potatoes, asparagus, bell pepper, sliced fennel, eggplant either in foil packets or cooked directly over medium heat. To grill bread, brush both sides lightly with olive oil and place over medium heat until toasted, turning occasionally and watching carefully not to burn.