Elk Carpaccio Salad
Courtesy of Chef John McGannon, wildeats.com
Originally concocted in Italy, Carpaccio is an elegant yet simple dish of raw meat or fish. Harry’s Bar in Venice (I’m not kidding) first served it to its aristocratic clientele around 1950. The meat is marinated with lemon, olive oil, mustard and, on special occasions, truffles (or truffle oil). The acid in the marinade helps to break down the proteins. The meat is sliced paper-thin and can be served as hors d’oeuvres on a crostini (toasted bread) or as a first course appetizer, which is what we will make.
The lean, rich nature of elk and other venison is a great application for this dish. Some folks might be concerned about eating raw meat. Trichinellosis, also called trichinosis, comes from a parasite found in meat-eating or omnivorous animals, such as bears, cougars, foxes, coyotes or wild boar. It is not found in herbivores like deer and elk. Freezing meat can destroy the larvae from other worms, such as tapeworm. Unless your elk has dined on a bear recently, you’re in the clear.
Lemon Olive Oil Dressing
Yields about a pint of dressing
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp fine shallots
1 tsp fresh minced garlic
4 oz. fresh lemon juice
12 oz. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Place the garlic, shallots and mustard in a mixing bowl or food processor. Measure out the liquid and mix. In a slow steady stream pour the juice and oil into the mustard mix, while whisking to incorporate. Adjust the seasoning and hold for plating.
8-10 paper-thin slices of partially frozen elk sirloin, backstrap or filet, all silver skin removed
Several drops of truffle oil
6-8 shavings of Reggianno Parmesan cheese
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Shaved red onion slivers
Microgreens (Google it)
Toasted or grilled bread, sliced into bite-sized pieces
Assorted fresh herbs like basil, chives, thyme, oregano
Arrange the slices of meat in a circle around the plate, drizzle with the lemon olive oil dressing, sprinkle with the sea salt, grind the pepper, place the shaved parmesan cheese and herbs on top of the meat. Splash the meat with the truffle oil. Then lightly dress the greens with the dressing and place a good amount in the middle of the sliced meat. Serve with warm crusty bread or crostini’s.
Optional—pre-treat your meat with your favorite dry rub. When you remove the meat from the freezer, generously rub the seasoning all over the meat. Re-wrap it and place it back into the refrigerator to slowly defrost.
John McGannon is a RMEF life member, host of wild game cooking seminars at Elk Camp and owner of WildEats Enterprises.