smoked trout; venison steak; celeriac fries; leaved broccoli

Farmed game. Well, it’s not entirely an oxymoron.

It was December 25th, Christmas, so the meal had to be at least a little special. Two forms of wild game would definitely fill the bill, I thought, and that’s what I went for, although without the “wild” part.

Unless you fish for trout and hunt deer yourself, or have good friends who do, in the United States today both of those forms of what once passed for game will always be domesticated.

But it’s still worth fishing and hunting for the stores that can offer their farmed equivalents: This meal was a delicious reminder of that.

The appetizer anticipated the signal festiveness of the main course, but otherwise gave nothing away.

  • several tiny whole peppery plants, their basal leaves growing as rosettes, a delicate-looking cross of wild cress and the mustard-like shepherd’s purse (“the second most common weed in the world”) from Lani’s Farm
  • slices of a crusty Pain d’Avignon dark rye from Foragers Market
  • the wine with the trout was a Portuguese (Beira) sparkling rosé, Beira Extra Brut Rosé ‘3B’ Filipa Pato 2017, from Astor Wines

The main course was, well, the main course, since it featured venison. This time, pretty uncharacteristically for both myself and the venison, it was prepared in just about the simplest way I could imagine, using only a little butter, garlic, and white wine at the very end.

  • one frozen 1″ thick venison round steak (1.28 lbs/20 ounces) from the Schaller & Weber store, a Yorkville treasure (I think the meat is locally sourced, but I’ll have to wait until I return to the store to ask), defrosted slowly in the refrigerator, seasoned lightly with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper on both sides, set aside on a plate or a rack in order to warm to room temperature (no longer than an hour), near the end of that time 2 or 3 cloves of Krasnodar red garlic from Quarton Farm minced roughly and set aside, then a very large (17″) seasoned vintage oval steel pan heated over medium heat until the point when beads of water slide over the surface, a small pad of butter then, allowed to melt and spread across the surface with a wooden spatula, the steaks placed inside the pan and cooked without moving them just until they could slide across the surface with a shake of the pan (about 2 minutes), turned over and the other side cooked to the same point, which should be to a rare to medium rare state, removed from the pan onto 2 plates and covered with aluminum foil while they had rested for almost 10 minutes, while continuing to cook slightly (in this case the plates themselves were also on the top surface of a warm oven), the pan deglazed with a few tablespoons of white wine, the chopped garlic introduced, pushed around, and cooked briefly over low heat, another pad of butter added to make the sauce a little creamy, the sauce then poured over the steaks
  • dabs of garlic oregano jam from Berkshire Berries to the side of the venison

  • two 7-ounce celery root (celeriac) from from John D Madura Farms, scrubbed, peeled, cut into the size and shape of potato frites, about 1/4″ in cross section, tossed inside a bowl with olive oil [NOTE: I used too little oil this time, which may have kept them from ending up as crispy as I like], a half teaspoon of a smoked picante paprika, Safinter Pimenton de la Vera, a bit of crushed home-dried habanada pepper, sea salt, and a little freshly ground black pepper, then spread onto a large Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic pan, and roasted at 425º until brown and cooked through

  • one bunch of really wonderful “broccoli with leaves” (9 ounces) from Lani’s Farm, layered with the cut stem sections on the bottom and the roughly-cut leaves on top inside an antique medium size high-sided copper pot with a half inch of water in the bottom, covered with a copper universal lid, steamed for a few minutes, the water then entirely drained from the pot and the greens tossed, over a medium flame, with a little olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, and a little crushed peperoncino Calabresi secchia from Buon Italia in Chelsea Market
  • the wine was a really wonderful Portuguese (Douro) red, Quinta do Infantado, Douro Tinto 2015, from Flatiron Wines (and a really wonderful pairing with this entrée)