Tenderloins, those two pieces of meat that line the inside of the spine, are likely everyone’s favorite cut from a deer, except for maybe the backstrap. Really tender cuts of meat like this don’t need much to dress it up because they are delicious all on their own, but a drizzle of this vibrant salsa verde on the side is unbeatable.
The Italian version of salsa verde (green sauce) is a parsley based condiment with very similar flavors to a Ceasar salad and should be served cold. It’s really easy to make and a little goes a long way, you won’t need to add too much to the steak. The anchovies add umami flavor to the sauce and will make anything you serve on the side taste good, which is especially helpful for those who don’t like to eat their veggies.
Even though I used the tenderloins for this recipe, just about any type of steak out of your big game animal will work. You can cook your steak any way you prefer, I trust that you have a tried and true method. If the weather is warm out I prefer to grill mine, but in the winter months I love to sear in a cast iron on the stovetop and finish in the oven. The meat is seasoned simply with nothing but salt and pepper and cooked to medium-rare.
To complete the Italian theme, thin salty flakes of parmesan are a must. Most grocery stores will have shaved parmesan, but if you can’t seem to find it you can always buy a block of good parmesan and “shave” little pieces off using a potato peeler.
2 trimmed tenderloins (antelope, deer, elk, etc) kept whole
1 C. fresh parsley leaves, packed (1/2 a bunch)
1 garlic clove
1 T. capers
Juice of half a lemon
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
extra oil for cooking *high smoke point (avocado, grapeseed, canola, etc)
salt and pepper
Mince the parsley, garlic, anchovies and capers. Add to a small bowl and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly until emulsified. Taste and add a little extra drizzle of olive oil if too acidic and season with fresh cracked pepper and salt if necessary. This step can be done a couple hours in advance and stored in fridge until ready to serve. Be sure to re-emulsify if needed.
If you are grilling, pre-heat coals/grill to high heat. Bring the meat to room temperature, drizzle with oil and then season with salt and pepper. Sear over the flames for 2-5 minutes per side (timing will depend on how large your tenderloin is), pulling the meat off at 130 and letting it rest to final temp of 135 for medium rare.
If you are pan-roasting, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring the meat to room temperature and season with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat and add a tablespoon of oil or clarified butter. Sear the meat on one side until a golden crust develops, flip, and transfer directly to the oven. Allow the steak to finish cooking in the oven for an additional 4-8 minutes, depending on size. You can do a finger test for doneness or check the internal temperature. Let the meat rest before serving.
Slice and serve with a drizzle of verde sauce and a sprinkle of shaved parmesan.