Beef tagliata is a very tasty second course, but it must be prepared in the right way to be perfect. There are two main secrets behind this dish; the cut of the meat and the cooking. In the first case you will need the help of a trusted butcher while, as regards cooking, you will need to know how to control the heat of the grill very well; you can cook the meat rare or medium, the important thing is that it has an external crust and a pink heart. The meat will then be served cut into slices a few millimeters thick and covered with the cooking juices or accompanied by different side dishes. So let’s see how to prepare a soft and tasty beef tagliata at home without going to the restaurant.
Which cut of meat to choose for the beef tagliata
Get a rib of beef or Florentine steak, also known as entrecôte, if you want to make a perfect beef tagliata, or buy some sirloin. The cut must be whole and rich in muscle and with a good percentage of fat; in fact if you choose a lean piece of meat your beef tagliata will be dry and stringy, while the real beef tagliata must be soft and succulent.
Beef tagliata: the secrets for perfect cooking
Cooking is another fundamental element for the success of the beef tagliata; first of all you have to take the meat out of the refrigerator at least an hour before preparation, so as to put it on the fire at room temperature. The meat must then be dabbed with kitchen paper, so that the external surface is dry; this will favor the caramelization process which will allow you to obtain the external crust leaving the heart pink. For cooking, use only cast iron pans that evenly disperse heat, keeping it constant, or opt for a very hot barbecue; the important thing is that cooking takes place at a high temperature and that it is rapid. Heat the pan to at least 140 degrees C; the intense heat will allow the formation of the crunchy external crust, leaving the inside pink and succulent. Cook the meat for 2 minutes per side if you prefer it rare, or for 3 minutes if you want medium cooking; the "well done" option is not available for the beef tagliata.
Before cooking, do not grease the meat with oil, butter or other fats as it would burn when cooked at high temperatures. This is why it is important to choose a cut of meat with external fat. Those who prefer, however, can massage the meat with salt, pepper and chopped herbs before cooking it.
How to serve the beef tagliata
Once cooked, arrange the meat on a cutting board and slice it with a very sharp knife diagonally, making slices of ½ cm or 1 cm maximum; for this reason it is called "tagliata" (“cut”, in Italian). Then remember to cut the meat at 45 degrees C; it is the only way to cut the muscle and enjoy a very tender beef tagliata.
After slicing the meat, add salt and pepper and serve it hot with the cooking juices, or accompanied by various side dishes; in restaurants, beef tagliata is often served with rocket and cherry tomatoes, and also enriched with flakes of Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar. However, for a more refined presentation, you can also accompany beef tagliata with potatoes or truffles. If, on the other hand, you prefer a beef tagliata only with rosemary, heat a sprig with a little extra virgin olive oil, and then pour it all over the freshly cooked meat.