Spring = Salad?

All around my neighborhood, the trees are budding and even blossoming into brightly-colored spots against the sky. It's gorgeous and has given me a lot of opportunity to play around with my new set of macro filters for my camera. I got them to be able to take closer shots of the food I prepare for my articles here, but there's something pretty thrilling about capturing spring like this:

Needless to say, all the time outdoors focusing on the little details that spring brings into our lives has me thinking of springtime foods as well. For me, that means taking advantage of fresh foods. Crisp tender stir-fries and crunchy salads fill our plates. A wide range of bright colors have us enjoying rainbows at every meal. It's a good time to be eating. So when my folks sent a package of tender venison steak home with me recently, I contemplated how to serve it alongside a rainbow, too.

I ended up slicing the steak thin and giving it a bath in a Thai-inspired marinade and then lightly searing it along with some bias-sliced sweet orange peppers. Then it was rested on a bed of greens, thin wedges of tomato, and chopped cucumber. It could have used a light dusting of chopped peanuts on top, but this version didn't get that treatment. The juicy, marinated steak brought enough liquid with it to make an additional dressing unnecessary. All I have to say is this: Happy spring!

Thai Venison Salad

  • 8 oz. boneless venison steak, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 T. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. powdered garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp. dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp. chili oil
  • 2 T. peanut oil
  • 6-8 mini sweet orange peppers, bias-sliced
  • 8 oz. mixed greens
  • 2 plum tomatoes, stems removed and cut into thin wedges
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 T. coarsely chopped peanuts, optional

Place the thinly sliced venison steak in a bowl. Add the next 9 ingredients (rice vinegar through peanut oil) and stir to combine. Allow to rest for 1-4 hours.

Drain away most of the marinade and sear the steak in a nonstick skillet, adding the bias-sliced peppers after about 2 minutes. Allow the meat and peppers to cook until the peppers are crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. When they are finished, add the reserved marinade and turn off the stove and allow the residual heat to warm the marinade.

While the meat and peppers are cooking, arrange the greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers on two serving plates. Arrange the meat, peppers, and juices over the top and, if desired, sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Serve immediately.

  • Yields: 2 main dish salads
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes, plus marinating time

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