If I Were Ost-Rich Man

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All day long you too can bidi-bidi-bum with these seared ostrich steaks with pepper sauce.If I Were Ost-Rich Man - an ostrich steak recipe inspired by the musical Fiddler on the Roof!

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So. Ostrich Man. What are his superpowers then?

Erm… that’s really not what this is about.

This is is a musical about a middle-aged milkman. Who likes traditions. And has a violinist living on top of his house. No, wait – don’t go!

Fiddler On The Roof, based on the stories by Sholem Alecheim, is the 1964 musical set in a Jewish community in rural Russia in the early 20th century. The story centres around Tevye, the village milkman, and his struggle to defend and maintain the traditions of his village in the face of youthful romantic rebellion and antisemitism.

The role of Tevye was originally performed by Zero Mostel but Topol is most famous for the role and starred in the film version (I was lucky enough to see him in perform this in a UK touring production in the 1980s). (Oh, I was also one of persecuting Russians in a student production – boo hiss!). Being a period piece with music in the Jewish tradition, it is a show that has aged well and has been revived often, most recently on Broadway in 2015.

If I Were A Rich Man is probably the show’s most famous number and is Tevye’s one-sided conversation with God about whether it would have been such a bad thing if God had made him rich. Of course, his first thought naturally turns to eating ostrich. Possibly.

Ostrich meat is famously lean and similar in flavour to beef. Admittedly, I have mixed feelings about eating ostrich having seen them in the wild, but they are now farmed for their meat. I was intrigued to find ostrich steaks in my village supermarket. This was a pre-seared product, rather than fresh meat, and so just required flash frying to heat through. The steaks were medium-rare, but possibly on the dry side (yet still flavoursome). If you can find fresh ostrich steaks, you should cook them as you would a beef steak.

I decided a rich man’s ostrich steak should have a rich sauce, with a pepper sauce fitting the bill very well (pepper was once the preserve of the wealthy).

Chop a shallot or small onion and soften it in a hot pan with a knob of butter. Add the garlic and let this cook for a minute or so. Add the brandy and let the alcohol boil off (or flambé it if you’re feeling flashy). Add the pepper (traditionally, green peppercorns in brine are used, but I used crushed black ones), cream and mustard and adjust seasoning. Let the sauce simmer for a couple of minutes and then set aside until ready.

I served this with an easy zucchini/courgette and tomato gratin. Cut the courgettes into 3 equal pieces and slice these lengthwise (about 3-4mm thick). In a baking dish line up 3 slices next to each other to form a square. Season and add a grating of cheese (I use cheddar)  and a couple of slices of tomato. Repeat with another layer (your stack will be more stable if the alternating layer of courgettes are perpendicular to each other). Finish off with a final layer of courgette and cheese. This is one portion – repeat for as many as you like. You could of course make a bigger dish of this, but building stacks makes it easy to serve and looks a bit neater on the plate. Cook at 180C for about 20 minutes until the vegetables have cooked through.

If I Were Ost-Rich Man - an ostrich steak recipe inspired by the musical Fiddler on the Roof!

I also served this with some boiled new potatoes and butter.

Serves 2

If I Was Ost-Rich Man
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Ingredients

  • 2 ostrich steaks
  • 1 shallot or small onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
  • 2 tbsp creme fraiche or heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 zucchini / courgette
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1-2 handfuls grated hard cheese

Instructions

  1. Chop a shallot or small onion and soften it with a knob of butter.
  2. Add the garlic and let this cook for a minute or so. Add the brandy and let the alcohol boil off.
  3. Add the pepper, cream and mustard and adjust seasoning. Let the sauce simmer for a couple of minutes and then set aside until ready.
  4. For the zucchini/courgette and tomato gratin, cut the courgettes into 3 equal pieces and slice these lengthwise (about 3-4mm thick).
  5. In a baking dish line up 3 slices next to each other to form a square. Season well, then add some grated cheese and a couple of slices of tomato. Repeat with another layer (your stack will be more stable if the alternating layer of courgettes are perpendicular to each other).
  6. Finish off with a final layer of courgette and cheese. This is one portion - repeat to make the second stack.
  7. Cook at 180C for about 20 minutes until the vegetables have cooked through.
  8. Cook the ostrich steaks as your would a beef steak, and serve with the sauce and courgette gratin.
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