Jan says,”Ostrich meat is quite South African. It’s also quite healthy. While we’re on the healthy route, I suggest serving ostrich fillet in the form of a salad. As with beef steak, you braai ostrich fillet over very hot coals. Let it rest properly before slicing it into thin slivers. These days you can find vacuum-packed ostrich fillets on the meat counters of almost any supermarket in the country.”
Michael says, “my wine recommendation has so much flavour, it will happily take on this salad.”
What you need (serves 4)
800 g ostrich fillets
2 tots olive oil
salt and pepper
6 nectarines (or peaches – perfectly ripe, stoned and halved)
1 large bag fresh rocket leaves (or watercress)
3 rounds feta cheese (about 200 g)
olive oil (for drizzling)
balsamic reduction (or vinegar, for drizzling)
What to do Splash the olive oil over the ostrich fillets and toss them around so that they are coated with oil on all sides. Now season them all over with salt and pepper.
Use a brush or your recently washed hands to also coat the cut side of the nectarine halves with olive oil.
Over a very hot fire, braai the fillets for 4–5 minutes a side, then take them off the heat and let them rest for at least 10 minutes. (The idea here is not that you have to serve the meat while it is still hot from the fire. The idea is that you serve meat that has a great flavour from the fact that it was braaied.) Ostrich meat can be enjoyed medium rare, but you can also braai it medium with an internal temperature of 70 °C. I wouldn’t braai it past that point, as it will then just become dry and tasteless.
On less heat (set the grid higher and/or scrape away some coals), braai the nectarines cut side down for about 2 minutes, just to give them some colour.
Slice the fillets into very thin slivers, showing off the pink insides. For this you’ll need a very sharp knife so, if you don’t have one yet, buy a knife sharpener or new knife or both. Now put the salad together using all of the other ingredients. Finish with a drizzle of some olive oil and balsamic reduction or balsamic vinegar.
For a special day, say for example Valentine’s Day, substitute the nectarines/peaches with strawberries, as they also go well with braaied ostrich.
Who is Jan Braai? His real name is Jan Scannell and he lives to braai. He started the National Braai Day initiative in 2005 and his aim is to create a national celebration of the one activity all South Africans have in common, regardless of race, language, gender or wealth, cooking over a fire. He holds the world record for the longest braai. He is currently filming his third TV series for Kyknet. For more about Jan Braai visit www.braai.com