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Smoked Ostrich Carpaccio with Strawberries and Gruyère Shavings


Adapted from Leopard Hills lodge chef Shane Johnson’s recipe, this easily assembled starter melds smoky, sweet and spicy flavors all in one vibrant and complex bite. If ostrich meat can’t be found, substitute with smoked duck breast. -SUSAN KOSTRZEWA

Wine recommendation: Johnson recommends the Kanu 2008 Chenin Blanc, whose spicy and crisp character enhances the smoked ostrich and strawberries. Another option: the lively citric and floral Jardin 2009 Unoaked Chardonnay.

1 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
Fresh arugula (rocket), washed, dried and trimmed
31⁄2 ounces thinly sliced smoked ostrich (brentwoodtradingroup. com) or smoked duck breast
4 hulled, thinly sliced strawberries
1 ounce shaved Gruyère cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
First make a balsamic reduction: heat the vinegar in a heavybottomed non-reactive skillet over medium heat until it reduces in volume by half to 3⁄4 and has thickened slightly. Let cool. When you are ready to serve, divide the arugula between four appetizer plates, placing a mound of the greens in the center of each. Arrange equal portions of the ostrich or duck slices on top, and garnish with strawberry slices and Gruyere shavings. Drizzle the balsamic reduction and olive oil over the top and serve.
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