Warning: stop reading this post now if you are a big fan of Bambi.
One of the tastiest and most prized types of game is venison from roe deer. A roe deer (Dutch: ree, French: chevreuil, German: Reh, Italian: capriolo) is a small species of deer that is very picky about its food. It only eats the nicest leaves in the forest, and that’s why it tastes so damn good! The taste is so good in fact that my favorite way of eating roe deer is raw as carpaccio. Unlike other game like regular deer (venison), or wild boar, roe deer is not only hunted in autumn but also in spring. Since the roe deer likes to eat herbs so much, I tried combining it with a tasty herb salad and the combination worked really well. This meat is as amazingly flavorful as it is tender.
For 4 servings
300 grams (2/3 pounds) of roe deer loin fillet
bunch of dill
bunch of cervil
bunch of taragon
very good extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil for sauteing
I bought the whole back instead of just the loin fillet, so…
…I had to some work first. This yield 2 loin fillets, 2 tenderloins and the remaining carcass. I used the best part of the loin fillets for the carpaccio. I will post soon about what I did with the rest.
Of course you can ask your butcher to do this for you, but I bought this one at a place that sells to restaurants for a really nice price. (For those who are curious, 1.8 kilograms of roe deer back yielded 1 kilogram of loin and tenderloin.)
Although you can see the seal on the roe deer back that means it had been certified as healthy and I took it off the bone myself, to be on the safe side I seared it very quickly on all sides in a very hot frying pan with olive oil to kill any outside contamination. This was probably overcautious since the intact muscle of a healthy animal is sterile.
I quickly cooled the meat by putting it on a cold plate in the refrigerator.
To prepare the herb salad, I carefully removed all the tough stems of the herbs and washed the leaves in cold water.
I then dried the leaves in a salad spinner. (If you don’t have one I recommend buying one, as fresh salad that you wash and cut yourself is so much better (not to mention cheaper) than the pre-cut pre-washed salad from the supermarket.)
Now it’s time to make the carpaccio. As the roe deer loin fillet is rather small and I certainly did not want to freeze it to be able to cut it thinly, I sliced it thinly (3 mm or 1/8 inch)…
…and then gently pounded it thin between two sheets of plastic wrap with a rubber hammer that is normally used by road workers.
I then arranged the pounded slices on individual plates, drizzled some very good extra virgin olive oil on it and seasoned lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Finally I dressed the salad at the last minute with salt, the same good olive oil and just a bit of balsamic vinegar (not the expensive artisan aged stuff, just good quality balsamic vinegar will do for this). The best way to dress a salad is to add the ingredients to your own liking and using your hands to mix it all up. Taste a few leaves to see if you need a bit more oil, salt or vinegar.
I then served the roe deer carpaccio with a nice ball of salad, shaped with my hands.
This is great with a very light red wine, especially an unoaked pinot noir from a cold climate such as a red Sancerre.