I don’t exactly have a ‘bucket list’ of animals I want to eat, but I do like trying new things whenever I can. There are some things I have read about and long wanted to try (snake comes to mind), but there are others whose possibilities as a dinner feature have never occurred to me before. Accordingly, when I came across sausages made from Water Buffalo at the Brother’s Bistro in Ottawa a while back, I was both surprised and intrigued.
The sausages in question are a dry cured variety made with Water Buffalo meat and cranberry (which are just visible as tiny brown flecks in the sausage, if you look carefully enough). Alongside the thin slices I was served, there were some nice crispy herbed-bread triangles, creamy Dijon mustard, and a selection of pickles in the Italian Giardiniera style that featured onion, carrot, asparagus, and Garlic Ramps. All of these accompaniments would be terrific alone, or with each other but, unfortunately, they were not well paired with the sausage….
The problem is that, while the sausage looked very much like an Italian Genoa Salami, and even had a similar ‘waxy’ texture, it did not have the same robust taste of that particular variety. The strong flavors of a Genoa Salami can easily survive and be complimented by the acids and aromatics of the accompaniments chosen for this presentation but the Water Buffalo, alas, could not.
Quite honestly, though one would expect Buffalo sausage to have a ‘Beefy’ taste, the meat here was much more like pork and, indeed, it reminded me of nothing so much as a Chinese Preserved Pork Sausage, even down to the faint apple-like sweetness of that variety. I would even go so far as to say that the taste of the Water Buffalo sausage is even milder than the Chinese sort and, accordingly, needs to be treated the same way in terms of pairing. Plain blanched vegetables instead of pickled, perhaps, and maybe freshly baked white bread instead of the strongly herbed crisp-bread would do better..
In any event, I was very pleased to get to try Water Buffalo, and I did enjoy it. Next time, however, I hope it is in a presentation that allows the delicate flavor to shine a little more brightly.