Sizzling Salad Days

I'm lucky enough to be able to enjoy venison now and again throughout the year. This is one of the benefits of coming from a large family with several hunters among its ranks. And venison is a great, lean source of protein that - in my opinion - gives the best beef out there a run for its money when it comes to quality. So it's no surprise that when I get a chance to cook with venison, I look for amazing ways to showcase those very features. Here's my most recent mouth-watering idea:

Strong Thai flavors won't overwhelm the meat in this dish and beautifully fresh vegetables make the perfect pairing for it as well. I even had some french fried jalapeños (think french fried onions, but with a kick) that I used here. Don't worry if you don't have them or can't find them at your market — this salad is amazing with or without them. Deglazing the pan when you are cooking the meat with a bit of soy sauce (or tamari, if you are avoiding gluten) means you don't need to add any salt as you are cooking the meat — which tends to leave it juicier and absolutely perfect when you take each bite.

This is definitely a main dish salad and doesn't really call for any other sides. If you think you'll have extra juices on your plate when you're done eating, you may wish to have some bread sticks on hand to sop those up! Otherwise, a glass of wine (I'd choose your favorite red for this dish) is all you need. Well, maybe need is too strong a word, but when it comes to enjoying venison, I consider it special occasion time!

Thai Venison Salads

  • 10 oz. venison sirloin tips
  • 1 T. Thai red curry paste
  • 1 T. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • 10 oz. mixed greens
  • 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. sliced red pepper
  • 1/4 c. thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 T. french fried jalapeños, optional
  • 1 T. black sesame seeds
  • 1 T. soy sauce
For the dressing:
  • 1/2 c. lime juice
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • 1 T. fish sauce

Hand-mix the venison with the curry paste, peanut butter and sesame oil. Place it in a container and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes and up to a day.

While the meat is marinating, assemble the rest of the salads by layering the greens, cucumber, pepper, onions, jalapeños (if desired), and sesame seeds on serving plate. Set aside and, if you'll be waiting more than a half an hour, refrigerate them.

Place the venison in a large nonstick skillet and bring to medium-high heat, stirring constantly. When the meat is evenly browned, add the soy sauce and scrape the pan thoroughly before nestling the cooked meat in batches on top of the assembled salads.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small, resealable jar and shake vigorously to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the salads immediately before serving. (The dressing can be made up to 3 days in advance.)

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

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