O.K., let’s suppose that you live in a small town and you don’t have access to much in the way of “gourmet” ingredients, but you do have a hunk of elk in the freezer and there’s a couple of folks you would like to impress. If you can’t find roasted red peppers in a jar, try pimentos, they’re not as hard to find. If you can’t find fresh basil, use parsley or, if you must, some dried basil instead. You’ll still have a dish with striking presentation, great flavor and, if the boss is coming over, you may just get that raise you should have gotten a long time ago.

If you don’t have an elk in the freezer, any hunk of relatively tender meat will do. I have not specified how you should cook the meat. That part is incidental. You can pan-sear, broil, grill or roast.

Elk with Red Pepper Sauce and Basil Oil

Ingredients

  • 2-2 1/2 pounds elk loin or tenderloin
  • salt and pepper
  • Red Pepper Sauce
  • 1 small onion cut into medium dice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted red bell peppers do it yourself (best) or buy them already roasted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar or substitute red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Basil Oil

  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lemon juice only
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 2/3 cups olive oil extra virgin works best here

Instructions

  • Sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the peppers, pepper flakes and vinegar. Cook for 2 minutes more. Cool and puree in a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper.

Basil Oil

  • Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Keep at room temperature. Whisk vigorously before serving.
  • To serve, spoon some of the red sauce on one side of the plate. Spoon some of the green sauce on the other. Place some potatoes (or rice, etc.) on the center of the plate and add a few vegetables for color. Place the meat on top of the potatoes and garnish with something green.

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