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Venison Crostini

Recipe by: Wendy Hyde

As children we’re taught to share our toys. As responsible, ethical hunters, we share our hunting success for a variety of reasons: to express gratitude to a landowner whose given permission to hunt, to contribute to feed a hungry family, or to introduce someone to a new world of flavors and possibilities in the outdoors.

Backstraps are the leanest, most select cut of venison. They need little more than salt, pepper, a crusty sear and a short rest to end up with flavorful, moist, melt-in-your-mouth richness. This two-bite sized appetizer is layered with tender meat, crisp toast slices, savory aioli and sweet caramelized onions. It is a crowd-pleaser that stretches the prized cut to share with a crowd.


For the Venison:
1 ½ - 2 lb. venison backstrap, whole, silverskin removed
Olive oil
¼ cupunsalted butter
Salt & pepper
For the Bruschetta:
1 loaf baguette, sourdough, or firm bread of choice, sliced ½” thick
¼ - ½ c. salted butter, softened
For the Caramelized Onions:
2 cuponions or shallots, sliced ¼” thick
¼ cupunsalted butter
For the Roasted Garlic-Thyme Aioli:
½ cupmayonnaise
2 tablespoonroasted garlic (see footnote for recipe link)
½ teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoonchopped fresh thyme
½ - 1 tsp. champagne vinegar

How to Prepare

  1. Onions: Heat butter over medium heat, add the onions and a pinch of salt, stir until coated, and brown until caramelized (at least 30 minutes), adjusting the heat and deglazing (adding small amounts of water to prevent sticking) as needed. Continue this process of cooking and deglazing until the onions have reached a medium golden-brown color and are soft and slightly sweet.
  2. Aioli: Mix all ingredients in a bowl until combined. Chill until needed.
  3. Crostini: Lightly spread both sides of bread slices with the softened butter. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bread slices in one layer and fry on both sides until toasted and golden-brown.
  4. Venison: Preheat oven to 400°. Rub meat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper on all sides. Melt ¼ c. butter on medium high heat in an oven proof skillet then add the meat (it should sizzle or the pan is not hot enough and it will steam instead of sear).  Turn the meat to brown on all sides, including the ends, creating a “crust” all over.  If the skillet gets dry add more butter as needed. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 15 – 25 minutes (to internal temperature of 140° for medium). Transfer backstrap to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Slice very thinly against the grain.
  5. Assemble: Spread seasoned aioli on each crostini. Top with 1-2 slices of meat, a teaspoon of caramelized onions and garnish with a small piece of fresh thyme.

* Roasted garlic recipe: Food Network