Buffalo was once considered an exotic protein, but has become much more available in the last ten years. 7.5 million pounds of Buffalo meat is consumed annually in the US. Many local gourmet grocery stores now carry various cuts of buffalo in their inventory. If you cannot find buffalo at your local purveyor, you can easily order it online. I like to use #D’Artagnan. The product is shipped frozen or fresh and arrives on ice within a day, depending on order date.
Buffalo has gained in popularity due to fact that it has a rich flavor similar to beef, but has reduced fat and cholesterol. It has roughly 80% less fat than beef and 22% less cholesterol in the same serving size. When cooking Buffalo, it is important not to over-cook it. Without the large amount of intramuscular fat, the meat can dry out fast and goes from beautiful to dull with even slight over-cooking. So, make sure you keep the meat medium-rare. I also like to marinate Buffalo steaks, which I normally do not do with Beef.
One of the things I love about Buffalo is that it lends itself to a number of wine pairing possibilities. While it has the richness to stand up to deep reds, it can also pair beautifully with less tannic red wines. I love to pair classic varietals, like Merlot and Cabernet Franc with it.
Merlot has a bright fruit character that seems to lift the richness of the Buffalo. The right Merlot will offer a balanced acidity that helps cleanse the palate. This creates a sensation that stimulates the appetite and opens the taste receptors.
A varietal that is even better with Buffalo is a well made Cabernet Franc. This wine has a beautiful herb perfume with spice and darker red fruit undertones. With the right aging, this wine is elegant and silky on the finish. The flavors play perfectly with the finesse of the steak. I also love our Smith Wooton Mélange with Buffalo. As a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, it brings the best of both worlds to the party.
We cook and serve Buffalo many different ways here at the CROZE Kitchen. Hanger steak has become a favorite, but we also braise Buffalo short ribs, and sear Buffalo tenderloin. I highly recommend you add this flavorful and versatile protein to your arsenal and have a blast researching wines that pair perfectly with your creations!
Swordfish in a fresh tomato sauce is a great dish when you can find extremely fresh, high quality swordfish. The bright acidity of the tomato highlights the rich flavors of the swordfish. This is a dish that surprises many people as you do not generally think of fish cooked with a “red” sauce. However the combination is fantastic.
Start by selecting a great piece of swordfish. The flesh should be firm and the steak should smell like sea water. I like to get a steak that is at least 1 inch thick. Cut the skin away from the flesh and dice the fish into 3/4inch cubes. Toss the cubes in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Saute over medium high heat in a non stick skillet until just barely cooked through. Remove the fish from the pan and place on a plate to rest.
Add you pasta (use what ever shape of pasta you like) to a large pot of salted water that is boiling and give it a stir. While your pasta is cooking you can easily prepare the Pomodoro sauce. In a non-reactive saute pan, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and add finely diced onion. Saute the onion over medium high heat for 4-5 minutes. Once the onion is soft, add fresh chopped garlic, salt pepper and a littler crushed red pepper flakes. At this point I like to add a ladle full of the starchy pasta water. Once that reduces, add crushed fresh plum tomatoes (I peel the tomatoes prior to use and crush them by hand. You can peel the tomatoes by scoring the top and dropping them into boiling water for a few seconds. Remove them from the boiling water and drop them in an ice water bath) Of course you can use high quality canned tomatoes if it is not tomato season.
Re-season the sauce and toss in a little fresh basil. Add the cubes of swordfish and bring the sauce up to temperature over medium heat. Drain your pasta when it is still al dente and add it to the sauce. Cook the pasta and sauce together for 2-3 minutes to bring the dish together. Serve in a deep bowl and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Serve the dish with a white wine that has generous acidity.
I like to pair this with our Croze Viognier, as the bright acidity on the finish really compliments the dish.