Steak Palermo Style  

(“Carne alla Palermitana”-“Carni ‘Mpanata”) 

 

This is a traditional Palermo’s dish, consisting of breaded thinly sliced beef, which is first marinated and then quickly broiled, grilled or cooked in a very hot uncovered heavy pan. 

When my aunt Francesca – in our my family she was in charge of shopping for the food supply – went to our butcher “Giarrusso Meat Market”, to buy the fettine for the bistecche impanate, she would insist on a tender cut called tenero di codata- the boneless rump steak, and she would also recommend to make the slices thin, so that it would be easier to chew them.  

In Sicily calves live in the open field, building meat and strength, at times they are used to work the fields and are butchered when they are well over a year old, resulting in a tough and muscular meat mostly eaten boiled or chopped; hence the reason that Sicilian Cuisine is loaded with meat loafs, meat balls and stews. 

The preparation of this dish makes the meat palatable and tender and offers the possibility to eat “a steak” using an inexpensive piece of meat. 

A very important part of this preparation is to soak the meat for a few hours into a marinade not only to compliment the taste of the meat with the flavor of the marinade but most importantly to tenderize the meat by breaking down its fibers.  

 

 

Serves 4 to 6   

 

Ingredients: 

 

  • 6 sliced boneless sirloin steaks (about 3 lb.) 
  • ½ cup of olive oil 
  • ½ cup of wine, white or red  
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, crushed 
  • 3 bay leaves 
  • 1 lemon, sliced thin 
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley 
  • pinch of oregano  
  • other preferred herbs (optional) 
  • salt and pepper 
  • sprigs of fresh parsley for garnish 
  • a wide container with 1 lb. of sifted fine Italian breadcrumbs 

 

 

PREPARATION 

The Marinade 

 

In a plastic or stainless steel bowl that will fit in your refrigerator, combine and whisk the olive oil and wine; add the crushed garlic cloves, bay leaves, lemon, chopped parsley, oregano, any other herb(s), little salt and pepper. 

 

 

 

The Steaks 

 

Trim any fat, and place each piece of meat between two sheets of wrapping plastic, and with a mallot flatten to the same thickness. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dunk steaks into marinade and turn to coat. Make sure that marinade covers the meat; if needed add some more wine. Seal container with plastic wrap, place in refrigerator and marinade at least two hours and up to 12 hours or more, turning steaks occasionally to absorb the flavors.  

 

                    Bistecca Palermitana

 

The Assembly 

 

Prepare and heat grill or a heavy pan 

Drain steaks and place one at a time in the container with the breadcrumbs. 

Squeeze the breadcrumbs into the steaks, patting heavily with your hands, to firmly compact the breadcrumbs.  Set the breaded steaks into a pan or dish and once they have all been breaded, move them on to the grill or pan. 

 

Bistecca Ammudicata

 

Cook for 7 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other side for rare, or use your judgment to cook to the desired doneness. Turn steaks only once.  

Place in a serving dish and garnish with parsley sprigs. 

Serve with a green salad, a fresh loaf of Italian bread along with a Cerasuolo wine or a Californian Burgundy.