Pan frying food has always been a challenge for me. I inevitably burn the crust while the inside is raw. So Iâ€™d started avoiding that particular cooking method, telling myself I donâ€™t really like pan-fried food.
Liar. I love anything that has the word â€œfriedâ€ in the name.
So I bravely took the pan-frying lesson on Rouxbe. In fact, I watched the video twice. And I learned about all the things Iâ€™ve been doing wrong all these years. Who knew you had to heat the pan before adding the oil? And although Iâ€™d always heard not to crowd the pan, I always ignored that advice. Guess what? It does matter. If you crowd the pan, the food doesnâ€™t cook evenly or brown evenly.
Armed with my new knowledge, I decided to test it on a few venison dishes. The first was a flank steak that I had defrosted, but didnâ€™t know what I wanted to do with it. This became dinner the night I was braising, which took 8 hours and wasnâ€™t going to be dinner afterall. â€œWow, thatâ€™s good,â€ said my father-in-law upon tasting it. This said in total surprise. (Why he is always surprised when I feed him something tasty is a little insulting, especially since he has liked every single thing I have ever made for him. But that is beside the point.) Alas, I forgot to photograph that meal.
So last night I did it again, using a venison loin (backstrap). The key to this recipeâ€”aside from proper pan-frying techniqueâ€”is to coarsely grind the pepper and salt. It gives the outer crust a satisfying crunch with a bite, while the meat itself stays tender, succulent, and mild. The sauce is optional. I did not make it the first time, but did make it last night. Delicious meal both ways.
: Pepper Crusted Venison Medallions
: Crusty on the outside, tender on the inside. Wonderful.
- 1 lb venison meat (back strap, steak, flank roast)
- 1 to 2 Tbs black peppercorns
- 1 to 2 Tbs course sea salt
- 1 Tbs grapeseed oil
- 2 Tbs shallots, minced
- 3 to 4 Tbs cold, unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 cup venison or veal stock
- kosher salt (to taste)
- freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- Dry meat with a paper towel and cut into medallions.
- Coarsely crush the salt and peppercorns in a mortar, or use a pre-made pepper steak rub.
- Rub each of the medallions with the salt/pepper mixture.
- Preheat a pan over medium to medium-high heat.
- Once the pan is hot, add the oil, followed by the venison.
- Keep an eye on the meat to make sure they donâ€™t smoke. If the pan seems to get too hot, remove it from the burner until the heat lowers.
- After about four minutes, turn the steaks over. Turn the heat to medium-low, to avoid burning the bits on the bottom of the pan (sucs)â€”if you want to deglaze and make a sauce, you donâ€™t want these burnt.
- Continue to cook for about five minutes, until the venison is slight firm when you press down on it. The time will depend on the thickness of your meat.
- Transfer to a cooling rack. Place over a plate to capture any juices. Cover loosely with vented foil. Let sit for at least five minutes.
- For the optional sauce,
- Heat the pan to medium and add about one tablespoon of the butter. Melt and then add the shallots.
- Cook the shallots until they are soft and golden.
- Add the wine to deglaze the plan, making sure to scrape up any sucs from the bottom of the pan.
- Reduce the liquid until it has a syrupy consistency.
- Add the stock and any juices from the resting medallions and reduce again until slightly thickened. The sauce should not be too runny or too thick. It should just move nicely on the plate.
- To finish the sauce, turn off the heat and swirl in the cold butter, a bit at a time until the sauce is the consistency you want. Salt and pepper to taste.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 10 minute(s)
Diet tags: High protein
Number of servings (yield): 4
Copyright Â© Susan Rose.