I recently received a press release proclaiming 2011 to be the year of the goat. This had nothing to do with the Chinese calendar, but was intended to publicize a new book titled Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese, by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough.
The book celebrates what the authors call “the world’s primary meat,” and features recipes such as Pan-Roasted Chops with Blackberries and Sage and Braised Meatballs with Artichokes and Fennel. Certainly, anyone who has logged a substantial amount of time in trendy restaurants has eaten their share of goat cheese, but what about goat itself? It hasn’t been offered to me since I was in Argentina, where it forms part of the traditional asado. Roast baby goat is also a specialty in the Northern Mexican province of Monterrey. Cabrito, or young goat, is a typical dish in the Navarra region of Spain’s Basque country.
Most of us have seen curried goat in neighborhood Jamaican or Indian eateries, but what about the high end of the market?I decided to do some research to discover how goat fits in to the world’s finest tables. Not surprisingly, it turns up on the menu of the famous Moo Restaurant in Barcelona. Located in the Hotel Omm, this Michelin-starred establishment offers a contemporary version of Catalan cooking, and offers baby goat roasted in honey and rosemary.
In Italy, several celebrated restaurants feature goat dishes on their menu. Ristorante Duomo in Ragusa, Sicily, awarded two Michelin stars, serves salami of goat with wild vegetables. Grilled baby goat appears on the menu at Arnolfo in Tuscany, a Relais et Chateaux property which also has a pair of Michelin stars. Still, it doesn’t appear that goat will displace Kobe beef, foie gras, duck or rack of lamb in the near future.
For the home cook, there are several sources of high-quality goat meat. Bill Niman, who founded Niman Ranch and left the company several years ago to strike out on his own, is raising goats naturally for his new project called BN Ranch. In Maine, John Wilcox and Donna Williams are also raising free-range goats on Kimball Farm. If you have the acreage, you can try one yourself—if you’re a vegetarian, they supposedly make great pets and eliminate the need for a lawn mower.