Working--even just interning--at a food magazine has its perks. So far, at Food & Wine, I've gotten to sample (and take home for dinner later) countless numbers of delicacies that the test kitchen turns out daily; I've picked up a bunch of loot (a set of drinking glasses; some delicately painted Japanese plates) that the magazine had to give away when its offices changed floors; upwards of 15 bottles of wine. Not too shabby, right? Yet another perk concerns the large quantity of product samples that various food producers send to the editors to test out. Often there is far too much food for just one person, so an editor will share the wealth among the staff, asking only for our opinions in return. Last week, one of the editors received a large shipment of buffalo (or bison) meat products, and passed along both a package of sausage and a tenderloin to me. I was more than happy to put them to use in my kitchen.
I've eaten buffalo a number of times; my dad really likes it, and often uses the ground meat to make burgers. It's leaner than most cuts of beef, and, to my taste, has a more intense flavor--possibly because it's not churned out in the massive quantities that beef is today. I'd only ever eaten it in the aforementioned burgers, though, so I was eager to see how it held up in other applications. With the sausage meat, I mixed up a meatball-type stuffing with egg and breadcrumbs and packed it into halved tomatoes and zucchini for stuffed vegetables (tasted delicious but photographed poorly; otherwise I'd share). For the tenderloin, I threw together a marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, Chinese cooking wine and red pepper flakes, then tossed the meat into a smoking hot cast-iron skillet, cooking it until it was just medium rare, about 3 minutes per side. I let it rest for a few minutes, and then sliced it into thin strips. The meat was incredibly tender--buttery would be a good descriptor--and had taken on the marinade really well; it was salty, smoky and spicy. I served it up with a quick Asian slaw of carrot, daikon radish, red pepper green onions and cilantro; cool and crisp, it was the perfect counterpoint the the warm, savory buffalo slices.
Asian Vegetable Slaw
Serves 2 - 3
1. Peel and trim 1 large carrot and 1 large daikon radish. Cut the vegetables lengthwise into thin planks and then cut them again, into thin matchsticks. Place in a bowl. Remove the seeds from 1 large red bell pepper and cut it to match the carrot and daikon strips. Add to bowl.
2. Slice 4 - 5 green onions (white and green parts) thinly. Add to bowl.
2. Dress the slaw with 2 tsp. sesame oil, 2 tsp. light soy sauce, and 2 tsp. rice wine vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings.
3. Chop about 1/2 cup washed cilantro and mix it into the slaw. Place in refrigerator and allow to chill for about 15 minutes, then serve.