Got your goat? I got mine. And these days, it's getting easier to come by, as are pheasant and rabbit. Long perceived as too gamey by some, goat is quite palatable. Despite the fact that goat is the most consumed meat in the world, it's been largely overlooked in the U.S.
I love the depth of flavor of this slightly sweet, mellow red meat. It's also as high in protein as beef, if not higher, and lower in fat than chicken. And it's higher in iron than either beef or chicken.
Because of its leanness, it does run the danger of being tough if mistreated. There are some winners in town - the traditional bone-in goat curry at Dobhan and the herbaceous goat meatballs at Graze. Recently I got acquainted with the goat salami from Underground Meats. Pork shoulder and fatback add luster to the sausage; cinnamon and rosemary add a dash of pine-like sweetness to the earthiness and mineral tang of the goat.
The sausage is one of Underground Meats' bestsellers. The group also produces goat hot dogs and charcuterie: coppa, bacon, prosciutto and 'nduja, a spreadable salami.
Underground Meats sources Boer goats from dairy goat farmers. As only females produce dairy, the company was approached by a number of farmers who wanted to see male goats used toward a value-added product rather than wasted. All the goat meat comes from Wisconsin.
"Goat is one of those underappreciated four-legged creatures," says Garin Fons, founder of Underground Meats and the person behind the salami I purchased. He's a fan of goat meat's flavor and its economy. Fons thinks the notion that goat is gamey may explain why it's still "kind of exotic. But I think you're going to see more of it pop up."
I'd have no trouble eating the whole 2-ounce package of goat salami like a Slim Jim. But that's not much of a recipe now, is it?
I decided to try to mirror my memory of "The Godmother" sandwich from the Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica. It's made with a fistful of Genoa salami, mortadella, capicola, ham, prosciutto and provolone with "the works," the crowning glory being a mild or hot pepper garnish. I re-created it with Wisconsin's best - goat salami, chevre, a sweet pepper relish, red onions and protein-rich, nutrient-packed pea shoots on a fresh demi-baguette from Batch Bakehouse.
Underground Meats vends at the Eastside Farmers' Market on Tuesdays at the Wil-Mar Center, 953 Jenifer St.; or see undergroundfoodcollective.org/meats.
Serves 2, or 1 very hungry person; serve hot or cold
- 1 demi-baguette
- 4 ounces goat salami, thinly sliced
- 2 ounces fresh chevre
- 1/4 cup shaved red onion (I used Red Wing)
- 1 ounce shoots (such as pea and/or sunflower)
- 1 batch sweet pepper relish
- olive oil or chili oil (I used chili-infused olive oil)
- salt and pepper
Slice the baguette in half. For a hot sandwich, lightly brush the halves with chili or olive oil and toast open sides until golden; while warm, spread goat cheese on one side. For a cold sandwich, drizzle oil onto the halves and line one half with chevre. Lightly sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper if desired.
Arrange goat salami on cheese and top with pepper relish, onions and shoots.
Sweet pepper relish
- 3/4 cup sweet peppers
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Heat oil over medium heat and cook sweet peppers. Turn heat to high and add remaining ingredients. Cook until almost all liquid is evaporated (just a few minutes) and peppers are tender.