These elegant and flavorful appetizers are easier to make than they look, and venison is an elegant alternative to beef that’s perfect for your favorite guests. No gaminess here – which will delight any guests who haven’t tried mild and lovely farmed venison before.
Making three varieties of crostini isn’t much different than making one – you can cook the venison tenderloins for all three at once, and any sauces and garnishes can be whipped up a day ahead.
#1 Venison with Hazelnut Crème Fraiche & Lingonberry
For a dozen guests, you’ll need to double this recipe.*
#2 Venison with Horseradish Sauce
This recipe will make enough sauce and garnishes for 12 guests, but add 1/2 tenderloin more*
#3 Venison with Cauliflower and Black Trumpet Mushroom Gremolata
This recipe will make enough spread & gremolata for 12 guests, but add 1/2 tenderloin more*
* We’ve made these adjustments already in the shopping list below
Prepare the day before:
- Rehydrate the black trumpet mushrooms for crostini #3 first.
- Blend up the spice rub and coat the two tenderloins you’ll use for crostini #1.
- Make the hazelnut crème fraiche for #1.
- Whip up the horseradish sauce for #2 (it’s even better the second day).
- Make the cauliflower puree and the gremolata for #3.
- You can slice all the crostini bread early and keep it in a sealed Ziploc bag, ready to toast.
Before the party starts:
- Set the oven to 350°F, get a nice sear on all five of the venison tenderloins, finish them briefly in the oven to medium rare (or an internal temperature of 130°F), and let them rest.
- Raise the oven temp to 425°F and toast all the crostini bread.
- Chop your chive garnish for crostini #2.
- Shortly before guests are due to arrive, pull out the components of each appetizer and arrange them within reach of your cutting board and assembly area. You’re ready to rock.
- Slicing the tenderloin thinly and assembling the appetizers in batches can be done quickly, and won’t keep you in the kitchen all night!
5 Venison Tenderloins
1 bunch fresh Chives
1 punch flat leaf Parsley
1 head Cauliflower
2 inches fresh Horseradish (or good quality prepared)
14 oz Creme Fraiche
1 cup heavy Cream
1 stick unsalted Butter
D’Arbo Lingonberry Jam
1 ounce dried Black Trumpet Mushrooms
2 Tbsp minced Preserved Lemon
1 cup Hazelnuts
4 tsp Juniper Berries
4 tsp whole Allspice
2 tsp Pink Peppercorns
2 tsp Black Peppercorns
1 Tbsp whole grain Mustard
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
Salt & Pepper
A high heat neutral Oil (safflower, canola, etc.)
1 Seedy or Pumpernickel loaf
2 loaves good Rye Bread
- Old world reds like Cotes du Rhone and Bordeaux are wonderful with game meats. With milder venison and bold garnishes, Syrah, Grenache, or a California Cabernet would also be lovely.
- The horseradish throws in a curveball, making a full-bodied Sauvignon Blanc or a richly oaked Chardonnay intriguing options for those who prefer white wines.