A leisurely afternoon lunch at a casual osteria tucked behind the castle walls in the Marche region of Italy inspired this hearty recipe. Simple preparation methods and a limited ingredient list produced surprisingly complex flavor and well balanced dish Give it a try; I have no doubt it will leave you feeling soddisfatto!

Italian Inspired Bistecca Fit for a King and Queen

A savory steak lunch at Osteria Della Luna in Gradara, Italy inspired the creation of this indulgent entree bison entee at home.  Bison is leaner than beef and boasts a bold flavor similar to the coveted Chianina beef raised in Italy, but standard beef tenderloin steaks may be used in this recipe.

For the Steak:

  • 2 (4-6 ounce) Bison tenderloin steaks (beef tenderloin may be substituted)
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil 

For the Fennel Topping:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 Small garlic clove, minced
  • 2t Brown sugar

For the Garnishes:

  • 1 Organic Packham pear, sliced vertically into ¼ “slices, halved and grilled until tender-crisp*
  • 4 ounces Fontina Fontal cut into thin wedges
  • 1 ½ Cups Baby arugula
  • Extra virgin olive oil for finishing

Bring the Bison  to room temperature and tie with butcher’s twine to ensure the steaks hold their shape during the cooking process.  Meanwhile, preheat a grill pan over high heat or prepare an outdoor grill for high heat cooking.  When ready to cook, brush the steaks with the Dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and place presentation side down on the hot grill pan.  Allow steak to sear without disturbing for 6 minutes.  Turn the steak and allow it to continue cooking for 5-6 minutes or until desired degree of doneness is reached.  Remove steaks from the grill and allow them to rest uncovered for 10 minutes.

While the steak rests melt the butter in a small skillet and add the fennel.  Cook over medium heat for three for minutes stirring frequently.  Add the garlic and brown sugar and continue cooking for another 3 minutes or until crisp tender.  Season with salt and pepper.

To serve: Place a handful of arugula on each of two dinner plates.  Arrange the cheese wedges and the grilled pear slices on the plate. Place the steaks on the greens and top with the warm fennel compote. Drizzle the dish with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 2

*Grill the pears in a grill pan for about 2 minutes per side.  If you don’t have a grill pan sauté them in a little olive oil until golden brown and tender.

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