A drool-worthy seared venison backstrap recipe featuring fresh garden veggies
The coming of spring calls for a walk. When green shoots or mushrooms begin to emerge, I start feeling inspired to forage. And foraged finds pair beautifully with venison.
If you’re looking to learn more about foraging, I recommend picking up some well-known foraging books. The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora: Recipes and Techniques for Edible Plants from Garden, Field, and Forest by Alan Bergo is a great one that introduces recipes for foraged plants and teaches you about some unfamiliar harvest tips and tricks. Forage, Harvest, Feast: A Wild-Inspired Cuisine by Marie Viljoen is another great one. Inside, the author incorporates wild ingredients into everyday menus and special-occasion fare. She includes recipes from mixed drinks to main courses to even desserts. Either book is bound to inspire some new wild meals in your kitchen.
This recipe starts with halved radishes and spring mushrooms, roast cut-side down in butter & miso. They’re savory but slightly sweet. They balance the peppery bitterness of freshly foraged spring greens dressed in a tangy yogurt-tahini sauce. Add a perfectly seared loin of venison and you’ve got a spring meal fit for royalty, but available to all.
Spring Salad with Venison & Roast Radishes
- 2 lb venison loin
- 2 lb radishes with greens, root ends trimmed, and halved lengthwise
- 8 cups greens reserved
- ¼ cup white miso paste
- ¼ cup yogurt plain
- ¼ cup tahini
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1½ tsp honey
- 1 tsp lemon zest plus juice
- 1 clove garlic minced
- olive oil
- At least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours before cooking, take a whole venison loin out of the refrigerator and salt liberally
- Heat a well-oiled cast-iron skillet to smoking. Pat your loin dry, pepper, and place in your pan until well-browned on all sides.
- When internal temp reaches 120 F, remove, tent with foil, and allow to rest
- Toss halved radishes with melted butter, miso, honey, and a pinch of salt
- Arrange radishes cut-side-down on a sheet-pan and roast in a 500 degree oven until tender and and caramelized, about 15 minutes
- Whisk together yogurt, tahini, lemon zest and 1 tbsp juice, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Reserve 3/4 of this mixture for plating. With the remaining mixture, add 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp lemon juice, and 2 tbsp water. Whisk to combine.
- To plate: smear the yogurt-tahini sauce across your plate. Dress greens and cover with radishes. Slice venison loin into 1/2 inch medallions and arrange across the salad. Enjoy!
Tristan Henry is a lifelong Oregonian and perennial student of wild food and wild places. Tristan spent his youth in wetlands and on farms of rural western Oregon, where he cultivated a sense for stewardship and love for cooking. After college, he relocated to central Oregon, where he manages a small advertising agency, co-chairs the Oregon Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, chases elk with his bow, and wanders the hills with his wife and dog in search of food and fun.