We have been in entertaining mode over the past few weeks. Friends and family in town for a few weeks and Kate heading to Grrls’ Meat Camp for a long weekend. Our friend Adam, from Michigan, was our last guest here and just so happened to be very interested in food, as well as a photographer. In addition to the killer scenery out here that he wanted to capture, he also took a number of photos for his final meal here, gluten-free butternut squash spaetzle, roasted tomatoes and olives, and venison carpaccio to kick it all off. All the photos you see in this post can be attributed to him. Thanks Adam, they look great.
I had some venison in the freezer from a recent hunt that my friend Dave was on and thought it’d be fitting to serve some Colorado venison with some foraged ingredients from the local area. Normally I’d make carpaccio out of raw meat, however given the desire to use some spicing on the outside, I needed to do a quick sear to adhere it to the backstrap. The result is a slightly seared outer crust with an entirely raw center, maybe the best of both worlds.
A quick digression about one of the ingredients, cow parsnip. Cow parsnip grows wild out here and you can use many parts of the plant, however I tend to use only the seeds. They have a musky smell and Kate has even described it as a bit “chemical” in nature. I don’t know that I get that from it, but it’s undeniably pungent and distinct. I’ve used it previously for curing meats and fried as a topping for soups. I’ve even used it for pickling some carrot greens and other strong, bitter items.
I decided to pair the seeds with some fennel and mustard seed, along with salt and pepper of course, to make a very balanced and floral rub. After a quick sear, about 1 min per side, I let the meat rest and sliced it very thinly. After laying it out on a platter, I topped it with some lemon zest and good olive oil along with some Maldon sea salt. The end result was absolutely delicious and very much a reflection of the local environments.
There is truly nothing better then making a dish with wild meat and and foraged ingredients. I don’t know what it is with the connection to nature, but anytime I cook with these types of ingredients, it’s both fun and rewarding.
Thinly sliced venison with foraged ingredients and topped with lemon, olive oil and maldon sea salt.
- Venison Back Strap - 1/2 lb
- Cow Parsnip - 1 Tbsp
- Fennel Seed - 2 Tbsp
- Mustard Seed - 1 Tbsp
- Salt - 2 Tbsp
- Black Pepper - 1 Tbsp
- Olive Oil - 2 Tbsp ( Split into 1 Tbsp Portions )
- Lemon Zest - Zest of 1 whole lemon
- Maldon Sea Salt - 1 tsp
- Combine Cow Parsnip, Fennel Seed, Mustard Seed, Salt and Black Pepper into a grinder and grind to a fine powder to combine
- Coat all of the back strap fully
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a small fry pan
- Sear venison with rub quickly on each side, about 1 min per side
- Remove from pan and let sit on paper towel for approximate 10 minutes
- Slice thinly and layer on a platter
- Sprinkle the lemon zest over the layered venison, then drizzle with 1 Tbsp of good olive oil and maldon or another good flaky salt