I used to eat raw venison as part of my wild-game cooking demonstrations. To those who only ate antlered game cooked well-done or “all the way,” it was like watching someone eat live insects. Even people who enjoy their venison rare or medium-rare would often blanch at the sight of me eating it raw. I urge you to give this taste of venison a try and to savor each tender bite. Note that it is neither gamey nor chewy. If your venison doesn’t taste this good after you cook it, you shouldn’t blame the deer.
- 1 venison backstrap - center section, about 6 to 8 inches long
- 1 cup fresh rosemary leaves, minced
- 2 tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- plastic wrap
- 4 cups spring mix lettuce
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
- 3 tablespoons red onion, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved
- Remove silver skin from backstrap. Combine rosemary, pepper, salt and garlic, and spread out on a cutting board or work surface. Roll trimmed backstrap in rosemary mixture, and press firmly while rolling.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet. Carefully add backstrap, and cook on all sides for about 1 minute per side. The goal is for the rosemary mixture to adhere to the backstrap. Allow to cool completely before wrapping tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for at least 3 hours or until completely frozen.
- Whisk together remaining olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, capers, red onion and sugar.
- Before serving, remove backstrap from freezer, and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to soften somewhat, but it should still be frozen. Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife, slice into rounds as thinly as possible without shredding. Think "paper thin." Arrange slices in a wide circle on plates. Lettuce mix will be placed in the center.
- In a bowl, toss lettuce in a few tablespoons of the dressing, saving about the same amount of dressing to drizzle over backstrap. Mound lettuce in the center of plates. Drizzle remaining dress over meat. Top lettuce with Parmesan cheese.
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