Venison tartare with sherry vinegar, pear and hazelnuts
Impress your dinner guests with this flavoursome starter
For the tartare
400g venison loin from Devon Venison
25g grated dill pickles (or gherkins)
1 shallot, finely chopped
15g English mustard
For the sherry vinegar gel
100g sherry vinegar
20g caster sugar
For the candied hazelnuts
100g blanched hazelnuts
200g caster sugar
200g vegetable oil
To dress the plate
Pickled onion petals
Lightly pickled pear
Society garlic flowers
1 English pear, diced into 5mm cubes
To make the tartare
Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly by hand and season with sea salt. This should not be done more than 15 minutes before serving. Set aside.
To make the sherry vinegar gel
Prepare a few hours before serving, as the first stage needs an hour to set. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan (off the heat), and whisk until all the dry ingredients have dissolved.
Bring to the boil.
Pour into a container and place in the fridge for an hour to set.
Once set, blend until smooth and shiny.
Pour into a piping bag with a very small nozzle or a plastic squeezy bottle. Set this aside in the fridge.
To make the candied hazelnuts
Place the nuts, sugar and water into a saucepan, and bring to the boil to make a stock syrup.
Keep boiling gently for around eight to ten minutes (at around 109°C if you have a sugar thermometer), until the syrup goes very sticky, but not caramelised.
Drain the syrup from the nuts.
Bring the oil to 150°C and gently add the nuts. Be careful, if the oil is too hot, it will spit.
Cook until golden brown, then scoop the nuts onto a metal tray and season lightly with sea salt. Cool to room temperature.
The candied nuts will keep in an airtight container (at room temperature) for approximately two weeks.
Press the venison mix into a ring, ensuring it is split into four equal portions.
Pipe seven small dots of the gel on top carefully, then sprinkle some of the hazelnuts.
Finally, add the herbs, pickles and diced pear to make it look pretty.
Tom says: “Jeff Reynold, who owns Devon Venison, is not only an exceptional venison stalker, but also a very good friend. His knowledge of the local area is second to none and this – partnered with his expertise in hunting – makes him, in my opinion, the best source of venison in the country.”
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