Being from Florida, when someone mentions “exotic meat”, we know that they probably mean something like alligator or snake or rabbit. You see, in Florida, those critters are so ordinary and common place that seeing them on a menu really isn’t that surprising or”exotic.” No, to us “exotic” has to be something really odd…lion, llama, pufferfish, bear.
About a year ago, one of my husband’s friends, who owns Sebring Wholesale Meats, asked everyone if they might be interested in iguana. Not as a pet, but for dinner. Of course, Jeremy said “SURE!”, and half intoxicated, I proposed an iguana cook-off. Well, that idea took off and a few weeks later, I was boiling and de-boning an iguana to make iguana carnitas…”Iguanitas.” I won that little cook-off, and when asked if we were interested in cooking other exotics, I eagerly agreed.
The first protein in this new challenge…Ostrich! As usual, I took to Google to research and figure out what I was getting. As it turns out, Ostrich is more like uber-lean beef than poultry. In fact, it’s best served medium-medium rare.
The ostrich came as a 3lb fan (thigh), so I decided to prepare a couple different appetizers for a craft beer party we were hosting.
1 1/2 lb. Ostrich fan
2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 TBSP dried parsley
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 French baguette
Non-stick cooking spray
1 jar fig preserves
4 oz. blue cheese crumbles
In a small bowl, combine vegetable oil, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, cumin, parsley, and vinegar. Place ostrich in a shallow pan or ziploc bag. Pour marinade over and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut baguette into 1″ rounds. Arrange on a cookie sheet and spray both sides with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until crisp.
Heat a cast iron skillet and 2 TBSP butter until hot. Sear ostrich on one side until a caramelized crust has formed. Turn. Place 1 TBSP butter on the cooked side and allow it to melt as the other side sears. Reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking ostrich and spooning melted butter from skillet over the fan until the internal temperature reaches approximately 125-130 degrees. Remove ostrich from skillet, place in a shallow pan, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for approximately 30 minutes.
When baguette pieces are done, spread fig preserves on top. Be generous with the preserves. After ostrich has rested, slice it thinly and place one slice on each baguette slice. Top with blue cheese crumbles. Serve immediately!
Apricot Glazed Ostrich Kebabs
1 1/2 lb Ostrich fan (thigh)-cut into bite size cubes app 1″
3 TBSP honey
pinch red pepper flakes
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 c. apricot preserves
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 TBSP soy sauce
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and allow to marinate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile cut sweet pepper pieces. I used red, orange, and yellow peppers. I also cut half the number of pepper pieces, so that I would have 1 pepper piece to 2 pieces of meat on each toothpick.
Heat a cast iron skillet and 1 TBSP butter. Drain ostrich from marinade. Place meat and peppers in hot skillet and quickly brown. This may take only 5 minutes, depending on the size of the skillet. My skillet is quite large, so I could put all of the meat in at once. The meat will quickly caramelize to medium-rare. Remove from skillet and cover with aluminum foil to rest.
Combine glaze ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute and stir. Microwave an additional minute or until preserves are completely melted.
To assemble, place 1 piece of ostrich, 1 piece of pepper, and a second piece of ostrich on each toothpick. Dip each mini kebab in glaze and place on serving tray. Serve immediately!