In the height of summer, we’re all looking for lighter alternatives and recipes that don’t take hours to prepare. A whole venison fillet can be prepped in advance and elegantly served as a starter or light meal within this salad.
This dish is big on flavour and beautiful as a centrepiece on your table, and the wine not only makes the table more elegant, it will also turn this meal into an occasion. (Note: you can also use about 300 g thinly sliced smoked cured venison for this salad.)
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
50 g dried cranberries
125 ml red wine (preferably pinot noir, but any good dry red wine will do)
600 g whole venison fillet (springbok or rhebok are our favourites)
15 ml olive oil
salt & pepper
a large bunch of fresh watercress
about 300 g oven roasted beetroot, quartered
200 g plain soft goats cheese (Chevin), crumbled/cubed
100 g whole walnuts
For the dressing:
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
30 ml red wine vinegar
10 ml wholegrain mustard
salt & pepper to taste
Place the cranberries in a small saucepan with the wine and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 5-10 minutes until most of the wine has evaporated, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Place the fillet on a clean working surface, then rub all over with oil and season with the salt and pepper. Grill in a hot pan on all sides until cooked to your liking (pink in the middle is perfect). Remove from the heat and leave to rest and cool, then slice thinly.
Arrange the salad on a large platter: watercress, beetroot, sliced venison, goats cheese, cooled plumped cranberries and walnuts.
Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a small jar, cover with a lid and shake vigorously. Pour the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.
Now, pour yourself and your guests Anthonij Rupert Wyne’s Cape of Good Hope Pinot Noir and enjoy a feast for a king (and queen).
PS. Styled image of food and wine was masterfully done by Ilse van der Merwe.