Kale Salad with Venison Backstrap
I used to think I didn’t like salad. As it turns out, I just didn’t like the salad that turns up so often as a side dish in restaurants- fragile lettuce and anemic tomatoes drenched in sugary dressing. Luckily, a vendor at the farmers market I frequented in college managed to convince me to buy a bunch of kale from him and try his favorite method for eating these sturdy greens. Cut thin and massaged until tender, this salad can be prepared and dressed even days ahead of time and the texture still holds up, making a perfectly fresh counterpart to rich pan-seared venison steak. This recipe is our basic salad and dressing, but I always suggest getting experimental with whatever toppings and herbs you have available to you. In Spring we may include pea shoots in the salad and minced ramp leaves or chives in the dressing, while in Fall we omit the radishes and add roasted beets.
- 2 loin steaks backstrap, salted
- 1 bunch kale preferable lacinato
- 2-3 radishes
- 2 medium carrots
- Salad Dressing:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 large garlic clove minced
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
- salt and pepper
- At least an hour ahead of time (but can be up to a day), salt your steaks generously on both sides and return to the fridge while you prepare the salad.
- De-stem your kale by firmly grasping the leaf at the stem end and pulling through your pinched-together thumb and index finger. Cut leaves into 1 inch strips and place in a bowl. Massage the kale leaves roughly with your hands until they are soft and dark green.
- Chop your radish and carrots into thin half-circles and add to the bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Once they are thoroughly combined add the rest of the salad dressing ingredients and adjust salt and pepper levels to taste.
- Add dressing to salad and toss to coat, then chill until ready to serve.
- Sear the seasoned backstrap steaks to your preferred doneness. We prefer medium-rare so we sear it in a cast iron pan with a generous amount of butter for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and let rest for at least 5 minutes.
- After it has rested, cut the steaks into 1/2 inch strips. Plate the salads and lay several strips of steak on each serving. Top with more shaved parmesan and a squeeze of lemon if desired.