I am not what you would call a meat eater. I can't quite call myself a vegetarian either, though I was up until recently. I eat plenty of fish, small amounts of chicken, and practically no red meat. But, I married a Colombian, which means along with for better or worse and richer or poorer, my vows also included a promise to cook red meat, at least occasionally.
I was gazing through the glass counter at the butcher for a nice cut of lamb or beef, but I unexpected stopped in front of an animal of a different color – buffalo. I remembered reading about the health benefits of buffalo, and how it had far less fat and cholesterol than beef and more iron and B-12, so I grabbed a 1/2 pound of ground meat and headed to Berkeley Bowl to pick up the fixings for buffalo burgers.
When I got home it bothered me that I had no idea where the buffalo (bison, actually) was from, so I called Ver Brugge Butcher in Rockridge, and the man who answered told me it was from South Dakota. So much for eating locally, but at least I supported my neighborhood butcher shop, and this was a purchase I did not plan on making often. Sorry Alejandro…
I used a Master Heavy Cast pan that I bought at an antique flea market to cook them up. It was my first time using this odd shaped contraption, and while it was a bit cumbersome, it got the job done. Before cooking the meat I added some chopped onion, salt, pepper and extra-virgin olive oil to give it a little moisture and flavor, and split it into two patties without working the meat too much. I grilled up some brioche for the bun, and topped it with roasted tomatoes, arugula from my garden, and manchego cheese.
Instead of potatoes, I picked up some yucca root, or cassava, and roasted it along with a couple of baby carrots. If you’ve never tried yucca, it tastes similar to a potato, though it’s heartier and has a tropical, almost coconut-like feel. Before you cook it, remove the waxy peel and boil it for about 20 minutes until soft. Then, cut it into rounds or strips and roast until it turns a nice golden brown. I’m not big on frying yucca, as most recipes tell you to do. It’s obviously not as healthy and it ruins the earthy texture that makes it so appealing.