Note to self: Do not hesitate to bring water buffalo back into the kitchen.
I wasn’t really so much attracted to the novelty of water buffalo, but rather to the idea that the meat of this Italian ruminant might be both as delicious and as healthy as most of the traditional fare associated with the Italian peninsula. I prepared it with almost a total minimum of fuss, in order to savor its flavor. Absent only one quality, one which I absolutely do not require, that is, the very American demand for ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ palatability, I was not disappointed. The taste was terrific, even if a tad more chewing was involved than with more conventional steaks.
About the vegetables: The parsnips could not have been sweeter or more tastier, and the chard, although a long-absent and much-missed guest at our winter table, was welcome tonight even more for its burst of color and intense flavor.
- one New Jersey water buffalo 12-ounce New York strip steak from Riverine Ranch at the Union Square Greenmarket, thoroughly aired-dried on the kitchen counter for two hours before being placed on a very hot enameled grill pan for about eight minutes (turning once, both sides seasoned after first being seared), then allowed to rest for almost 10 minutes while kept warm, sliced into eight sections, drizzled with lemon juice from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island, and some good olive oil, finally placed on two warm plates
- parsnips from Norwich Meadows Farm, scrubbed, scraped, and cut into 1/2″ slices, tossed with olive oil and salt, spread in a single layer onto an unglazed ceramic oven pan, dotted with butter (a fairly dainty process), roasted at 425º, turning once, then removed and seasoned with a little more salt and pepper, and sprinkled with chopped parsley from Rogowski Farm
- rainbow chard, which Norwich Meadows Farm had been surprised to discover under a high tunnel on their New Jersey acreage the day before, sautéed with olive oil and finished with Fantastic Gardens lemon, and crushed dried hot pepper seeds
- the wine was an Argentinian red, Accūro Mendoza Malbec 2013, from Chelsea wine vault
- the music was Schubert’s Symphony No. 3