One of my biggest bug bears (where did THAT phrase come from – any etymologists out there, do feel free to tell me), is that when I tell people I love American food and I want to celebrate it for what it really is (delicious, fun and rich in history…OBVIOUSLY) they always give me the same cocked-head, squinty eyed, raised eyebrow response. “Oh yeah? Isn’t it all burgers and hot dogs?”
NO! NO NO NO NO NO…NOOO. American food is so diverse and so unique that it is hard to even put into words how much this question angers me. And I am a very angry person by nature. It’s what stops me from becoming obese, all that energy spent on inner rage. Apart from the Latina, the Chinese, the Ukrainian, the Jewish, the old English – I could go on – influences, one of the most important and divinely tasty cuisines that always gets pushed aside is Native American.
Turkeys, potatoes, corn, blueberries, corn again – all of these were harvested and introduced by Native Americans to the first European settlers to plonk themselves on the New World. And now, a segway to Disney. It’s not a cutesy, lovey dovey gimmick that John Smith asks Pocahontas where the gold is and she gives him a cob to start shucking! The Native Americans thrived long before any ship-sailing, pantyhoe-wearing, gun-toting White bloke ever came along, and they made some freaking TASTY ASS dishes too.
This is my homage to Native American cooking. Buffalo steaks are actually fairly easy to get your hands on. Some of the more, ermmm, Waitrose-y supermarkets have buffalo steaks, or you can always order it online from Laverstoke Park Farm (who have LOADS of the stuff, and loads of creamy, tantalising buffalo mozzarella too). I used one large rump for this dish, because I served it with a bunch of sides but just get as much as you think your carnivorous side can handle. So, a lot.
The most important thing to think of when cooking steaks is to get them to room temperature first. Cold steaks going to straight onto a hot grill will freak them out, make them shrink up and become super tough. NAH-HASTY. So, rub em in oil, salt, pepper and garlic and leave for about 40 minutes on the side. Then throw them onto a white hot BBQ grill with a satisfying mixture of finesse and caveman charm. 3 minutes on each side for rare, off the grill and straight into a foil jacket. Imagine the buffalo is like a marathon runner who needs to be wrapped in tin foil to keep all the juices in.
Blueberries = the bomb. So, in order to stop this dish being too much like a steak and a fruit salad all rolled into one, dump the berries in a small pan with some whisky (what else?!), red wine vinegar, balsamic and a bit of sugar. Cook down till sticky, glistening and jammy and dollop all over the steak – which at this point should be blushing like a girl who’s just been asked to prom. Winning.