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Warm Venison Asparagus Salad with Fig Vinaigrette

Venison SaladWell Fall is approaching and with any luck we’ll have a freezer full of venison soon.  Its tempting to just throw a venison steak on the grill but it incorporates really well into a salad. Here the use of fresh asparagus, will stand up to a warm piece of meat, figs and feta make for some yummy, earthy flavors. Then you can wash it down with a nice glass of pinot noir!

Warm Venison Asparagus Salad with Fig Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1 pound venison tenderloins or back straps
  • 1 Tsp. paprika
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 pound asparagus spears trimmed
  • Canola cooking spray
  • ½ cup sliced red onions
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Fig Vinaigrette

  • 2 Large fresh figs halved and grilled (or ½ cup dried figs, stems removed, re-hydrated in water, then drained)
  • 2 Cloves of garlic pressed
  • 1 Tsp. ginger paste
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Venison

  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small food processor or blender. Process until the figs have broken down into a smooth paste. Slowly add enough oil while processing until a vinaigrette consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. This is best made well ahead so that the flavors blend, refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Toss the trimmed venison tenderloins or back straps in paprika and soy sauce, set aside for 15 to 30 minutes.
  3. Heat the oven to 375 F, lightly spray the asparagus with cooking spray and roast until tender yet crisp, cool in an ice bath. Drain and set aside (alternatively place the sprayed asparagus on a hot grill). When cold, cut into 2 inch sections.
  4. Toss the red onions in the roasting pan until cooked but firm. Set aside.
  5. Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves.
  6. Pan sear or grill the venison until just done, it should be pink in the center. Remove from heat, wrap in foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Unwrap and slice the venison across the bias for the most tender cut.

Salad Assembly

  1. In a large bowel, combine; asparagus, onions, cherry tomatoes and toss with the ½ the vinaigrette.
  2. Add the feta cheese and gently combine. Taste test and add salt if desired, bear in mind that the feta cheese packs a lot of salt.
  3. Plate the salad and place the venison over the top and drizzle with the remainder of the vinaigrette.
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Born in New Zealand, Maggie Rosaine has always enjoyed coming up with cool recipes for the fresh fish and wild game that her family managed to catch. She has a degree in nutrition from the University of Illinois and when not cooking or developing recipes, she enjoys photography and takes all of the photos of her recipes herself. "I do all my own recipe photos and also contribute to my husband, Corky Decker's writing about fishing and hunting with photos and editing," she says. Maggie is currently working on a cook book all about recipes for fish and game. "I really like to catch, hunt or gather my own food and avoid over processing," she says. "I love to create healthy, yummy dishes and to prove that health and flavor are not diametrically opposed!" For more of Maggie's recipes, visit Corkydecker.com and click on recipes.