Bite the Bison

Yes, it’s called the Greenmarket, but this is partly P.R.—after all, Fleshmarket doesn’t carry the same gentle, pastoral ring. Still, as we enter June, there are at least a half-dozen stands in Union Square alone whose wares shade distinctly toward the blood-red end of the spectrum. Even a dedicated saladitarian must, at times, hunt down some protein to go with the bounty of vegetables now on display.

Over at Elk Trails Ranch, on the east side of the park, bison is the standout. This massive animal, the American take on the buffalo, grazes in open grassland, which accounts for the remarkable leanness of its meat.

If you’ve eaten bison before, odds are it was in the form of a burger. Elk Trails Ranch does sell the ground type, but try the sirloin or the flank steak, both around $11 a pound. Marinate either one briefly in olive oil, minced garlic, rosemary and as much freshly ground black pepper as you can stand. Grill the meat until it’s not bloody, but still very pink inside, and then let it sit under tin foil for a few minutes to finish cooking. The not-quite-gamey taste is richer than beef, yet it won’t weigh you down. Leftovers work equally well, maybe even better, in a sandwich the next day.


[Bison, in multiple cuts, available at Elk Trails Ranch farm stand, Union Square Greenmarket, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.]