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Peppered venison salad with cobnuts, bittersweet pears & autumn leaves

Made at The Ivy | Serves 4

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200g trimmed venison saddle fillet
Sunflower oil for cooking
50g cobnuts or hazelnuts
1 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
4 sprigs of thyme, with the leaves picked off
100g mixed leaves eg red chard, Dorset watercress, red chicory etc
Sea salt flakes for seasoning

For the bittersweet pears
2 pears, peeled & sliced into 8 pieces each
100ml water
60ml white wine vinegar
40g caster sugar
1 bay leaf
½ stick cinnamon
2 star anise

For the red wine dressing
2 tbsp red wine
2 tbsp extra virgin oil
2 tbsp hazelnut oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt & freshly ground black pepper



For the pears
Place all ingredients, except pears, into a saucepan and bring up to heat. Simmer until the sugar dissolves; pour onto the pears and allow to cool down in the liquor. Keep to one side.

For the red wine dressing
Whisk mustard with red wine vigorously. Add both oils and a drop of cold water, mix together and check seasoning.
Pre-heat the grill to a medium temperature. Roughly chop the nuts and lightly toast on a baking tray. Be careful not to burn. Season with sea salt.

For the venison… lightly season the venison with salt and roll in the crushed pepper. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan and cook the fillets for 2 to 3 minutes on each side for medium rare, or 3 to 4 minutes for medium. Leave to rest on a warm plate and retain the juices.

In a large salad bowl, lightly dress the leaves with the red wine dressing and some of the venison juices.

Arrange salad leaves on the plates, and add pieces of pear and toasted cobnuts. Finely slice the venison and add to the salad with extra dressing if needed.


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