When I studied in Florence, Italy in 1998 everyone ate at least once at a restaurant called Acqua al 2, 6 years later when my sister studied in Florence it was still a favorite. From the first course Assagio di Pasta to their amazing cuts of Florentine beef with various sauces, it is a must visit in Florence and now they even have a San Diego location, where the food is almost as good. Our main reason for returning each time is for the amazing Blueberry Steak or Fileno al Mirtillio. I loved this steak so much that one night last summer, while I was living in Toronto, I decided to try to replicate this dish. I had beautiful blueberries and filet from the St Lawrence Market, my favorite place in Toronto, and took a first pass at what has evolved into the recipe listed below.
This go round I used NY strip, just to try something different and it came out great, but I have used Filet every other time. I personally feel this sauce would be good on almost any cut of beef, but I leave it to those of you who make it to chose your favorite.
2 1/2 lb NY strip steaks, approx 1 inch thick
8 oz fresh blueberries
1/4 - 1/2 cup red wine (preferably a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 tbs blueberry jam
1/4 tsp -1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 sprig fresh rosemary
salt & pepper
1. Remove the steaks from the fridge to bring them to room temperature, salt and pepper each side of the steak and set aside on the counter. Heat oven to broil.
2. Put blueberries and red wine in a saute pan over medium heat. Let slowly he at up to a simmer then add the blueberry jam, about a teaspoon at a time. The jam is to add some sweetness, but it's best to add it slowly and continually taste to make sure the sweetness is to your own personal taste.
3. Lower the heat to low, add cinnamon and the rosemary sprig. Let the sauce cook so that it begins to reduce and thicken, approx 10 mins.
4. For 1 inch NY strip you can either grill or broil. I chose to broil. Place steak 3-4 inches from the heat, and broil for 12 mins turning every 4 or 5 mins for medium rare.
5. Remove the rosemary sprig from the sauce. Remove the steaks from the oven and place directly in saute pan. Cover with sauce and let sit in the sauce for approx 3-5 mins. Make sure to keep the heat on low as you do not want to cook the steaks anymore.
I usually make this with oven roasted potatoes and asparagus or a green salad and of course a glass of a beautiful full-bodied red wine. I'm not big on sauces on steaks, but there is something about this one. Maybe it's the nostalgia of it, but I love it.
I also wanted to note this is the first recipe I've posted that's my own, although my dad gets credit for some constructive criticism like adding herbs and what I believe is the key ingredient, the cinnamon. I think it would also be interesting to play around with nutmeg and/or thyme and will probably try that at some point too.
Hope you enjoy!