Ostrich – the other other red meat
I’m not sure that ostrich should be listed in the “me got game,” section of my website, but since I don’t have an enormous catalog of blog entries, I’m going to have to go with what I’ve got. But game? I think that anyone who thinks it’s a game to chase and shoot these not-so-bright animals who “hide,” by covering their eyes with sand might be the same kinds of people who enjoy doing puzzles by letting someone else do it and then bringing the last piece at the very end. But I guess when they’re not hiding they’re running. Timing is everything. All it took for me to get my hands on one was a quick drive to Mississauga.
I found a very small ostrich steak at Black Angus Fine Meats and Game, and decided to serve it up to my cousins as an appetizer, mostly for the entertainment value. So far, my husband has been the main taste tester for my exotic creations, but I thought I would take a risk and branch out. Plus, when someone feeds you an entire meal and all you bring is an appetizer, you get a whole lot more cred if it’s something strange and memorable. It was a win win to serve to my cousins, really, as long as none of them threw up.
I read about how to prepare the ostrich ahead of time, and most descriptions said that it could be used in recipes in the place of rare beef. I was slightly concerned – unless Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom had steered me wrong, ostriches are birds, which made me think of chickens and salmonella. My “birds need to be cooked,” experience had misdirected me this time though, because apparently ostrich has an ideal pH balance and so doesn’t attract harmful bacteria. Ostrich is also healthy in other ways, being lower in fat, calories and cholesterol than skinless chicken, while also being high in protein and iron.
I was shy to take control of a barbeque that was not my own, so I asked for a frying pan and grilled the ostrich steak until it was medium rare (same as you would a regular beef steak). I sliced it cross-ways, and because I couldn’t find a really great ostrich appetizer recipe, I laid each slice across thinly sliced toasted baguette, spread with herbed goat cheese and red pepper jelly. I’ll spell it out for you below, in case you’re that kind of person.
Ann’s Improv’d Ostrich Recipe
- Toasted whole wheat baguette slices (slice the baguette, roast in oven on baking sheet at 400, 8mins)
- Herbed soft goat cheese
- Red pepper jelly
- Medium rare ostrich slices
Combine, in the order above. Here is what it looked like (sorry for the finger shadow I only noticed later):
Overall Impression: Not bad, although my stomach still raised warning flags for unjustifiable reasons. Maybe it was far too healthy. I had to assess whether or not my cousins were just being polite, but they said they liked it, and cleared the plate of every last piece I had prepared. One cousin said the consistency reminded her of a cross between liver and beef (something I read said that it is so lean it can be off-putting). The jelly may have overpowered the ostrich, which may or may not have been a good thing, depending on your perspective. I would probably try ostrich again, but I wouldn’t put myself on the mailing list.
Rating: 2 yums
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