New Zealand Venison

Peppered and Seared Denver Leg Salad

Serves: 6     Preparation: 1 hour     Time to cook: 20 mins    


The Salad

1 punnet Cherry tomatoes, halved

120g Cows feta, cubed or crumbled

100g Micro herbs or baby salad leaf

½ Red onion, fine sliced


1/2 cup Shallots, peeled, thin sliced

1 tbs Corn flour

Salt & pepper



The Venison

600g Venison Denver leg piece


50g Green peppercorns

x1 Lemon juice & zest

x2 Garlic cloves, peeled, chopped

1 tsp Fresh rosemary

30m Olive oil

1/4 tps Flaked sea salt


The Gastrique

1/2 cup Dried figs, rough chopped

100ml Sherry vinegar

150g Caster sugar

To taste Salt



Recipe by Chef Michael Coughlin


Chefs note: some times the larger flatter pieces of Denver leg aren't as easy to cut into perfect little noisettes, therefore searing whole resting well and then slicing thinly make a great hero for a warm salad


To prepare the venison:

Using a processor or pestle and mortar chop up the peppercorns, oil, lemon peel and juice, rosemary and garlic  into a coarse pesto , place the venison onto a shallow dish and pour on the pesto. Rub in both sides and allow to sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. When ready to cook' season the venison with sea salt and place onto a hot  griddle or barbecue and sear both sides until medium rare . Remove from the heat and place on some paper towels to rest  in a warm place for 10 minutes.


For the gastrique:

Place the figs into a bowl and just cover with boiling water and allow to soak until softened, preferably overnight. Once the figs are softened place into a saucepan along with the sherry vinegar, caster sugar and salt.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes until the liquid becomes syrupy and thick, place into a sieve and strain off the syrup/ gastrique pressing the figs to get as much of the syrup as you can. Discard the leftover pulp and place the gastrique into a jar or bottle for storage, keep in the refrigerator  until required.


To compose the salad:

Season the cherry tomato halves with salt and pepper and a drizzle with a little olive oil and place cut side down in a hot non stick fry pan and allow the edges of the tomatoes to sear and caramelise, arrange along with the slices of the venison on preferred serving platter, scatter around the feta cheese, onions and salad leaves drizzle over some good olive oil and the fig gastrique, garnish with the crisp shallots and serve.


For the shallot crisp:

Soak the shallots in cold water for 30 minutes, drain and then press dry in a clean tea towel. Place into a bowl with corn flour

Toss until completely  coated and drop into  hot oil and fry until crisp, drain on a paper towel and  season with salt and pepper , store in an air tight container  until required