smoked whitefish, cress; elk steak; brussels sprouts, roots



We had some elk in the freezer, remaining from some given to us last spring by a friend who has a cousin who hunts, in the wilds of Kansas. At that time it had been a sirloin steak; on Sunday it was a flank steak.

I’ve had very little experience with that cut, even with beef, so I did some reading, and although I thought I had approached the process in a reasonable manner, the result was more chewy that I had supposed it would be. One of the reasons I’ve avoided flank, skirt or similar cuts is my fear of slicing the meat in the wrong direction once it’s been cooked, which is probably what happened here (it’s best sliced “across the grain”, a description not always obvious to me when I’m in a hurry).

In any event, it was tasty, and there was enough left to include in another dinner.

This rich meal began with a light course of smoked fish, garnished.

  • Duck Trap River smoked whitefish from Whole Foods served with some lightly-dressed upland cress from Two Guys from Woodbridge and sections of a sweet local lemon from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island
  • pieces broken from an Eric Kayser ‘baguette monge’
  • the wine was a California (Sonoma) white, Scott Peterson Rumpus California Sauvignon Blanc 2015, from Naked Wines

The main course was pretty simple to prepare, in spite of the richness of the ingredients.

  • one twenty-ounce, one-inch-thick flank steak from an elk shot in the wild, dried rubbed with olive oil and a very generous coasting of freshly-cracked black peppercorns, set aside for more than an hour, then placed over moderately high heat in 1-2 tablespoons of a combination of butter and olive oil inside a round 12-inch enameled cast iron pan, cooked rare-to-medium rare, which meant about 2 or 3 minutes on one side, then turned and cooked for another 2 or 3 minutes, transferred to warm plates, the bottom of the pan scraped with a wooden spatula to collect the juices, and a quarter cup of brandy added to the pan and cooked over high heat until reduced to about 2 tablespoons, the sauce poured over the meat, which was then garnished with chopped parsley
  • some Brussels sprouts, together with one small ‘Honey Nut’ winter squash, and one Russet potato, all from Norwich Meadows Farm, the squash and the potato peeled and cubed, all tossed together with oil, salt, pepper, and two unpeeled garlic cloves, spread onto a ceramic oven pan and roasted for about half an hour at 400º, or until tender and caramelized, removed from the oven, drizzled with a bit of white balsamic vinegar, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and sage, and stirred
  • the wine was an Italian (Val d’Aosta) red, Feudo di San Maurizio Saro Djablo 2015, produced by Michel Vallet, “..the owner, winemaker and dreamer of Feudo di San Maurizio in the village of Sarre in Italy’s alpine Valle d’Aosta region hard by the Swiss border…”