Pan-seared sika venison steaks with samphire

Samphire makes its appearance in Spring and while it is most often partnered with fish, its fresh flavour and vibrant colour is also really delicious with game meats or lamb.  This recipe uses venison from the sika breed of deer but choose whatever is available. The steaks are flash-fried in garlic, juniper and thyme just long enough to ensure the meat will be tenderly pink inside.; then the samphire is cooked in the same pan so it can take on more of the same flavours before being deglazed in a fruity vinegar.


Try serving with crushed and buttered and new pototoes. 


Servings 4


2 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 tsp juniper berries

leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme

2 tbspoliveoil

4 sika venison steaks, approx 120g each

30g butter

160g samphire, washed

½ tbsp capers, drained and roughly chopped

1 lemon

3 tbspraspberryor blackberry vinegar



Crush the peeled garlic cloves with the back of heavy knife. Pestle into a paste with a good pinch of salt, the juniper berries and thyme leaves. 


Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Over a gentle heat warm through the garlic mix just until the flavours begin to be released. Sit the venison steaks in the pan on top of the garlic etc in there, turn the heat up and give them 2 mins each side for meat that will be nicely pink. 


Lift the steaks out and set aside to rest.  Add the butter to the pan, then once it has melted add the samphire and capers too. Stir round on the heat just long enough for the samphire to wilt. Grate over the zest of the lemon and divide between four plates. Pour the vinegar into the pan and let it bubble for 30 seconds or so to reduce and deglaze the pan. 


Slice the steaks on the diagonal, sit the meat on top of the samphire, and pour over the vinegar deglazing from the pan. 


Give a good grinding of pepper over the top and serve. 

(This recipe originally featured for Borough Market.)

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