It’s fresh fig season! Do something special with this fleeting time of year.
For all the non-hunters out there, here is a quick lesson Deer anatomy. The “backstrap” is the long strip of meat that runs along the spine of the deer. It’s very tender, lacks the sinew that much deer meat can have, yet it’s still extremely lean. It’s the deer’s “filet mignon” so to speak. A lot of processors cut the backstrap into steaks and wrap it in bacon, however, sometimes it comes in larger chunks (or you can request that they process it this way). I prefer the larger hunk because then I have more of a choice of what to do with it. I can always cut them and wrap them in bacon myself, but I like the option of seasoning it and roasting it like a tenderloin.
Onto this recipe… it’s fresh fig season! While it may always be fig season in California, in Texas fig season lasts about 2 weeks in the middle of the summer. If you know someone that has a fig tree (or even if you know someone that knows someone that has a fig tree), you always know when it’s fig season because the bounty is ample and fig tree owners everywhere are drying, jamming, and stuffing themselves silly with fresh figs. My solution? Throw them over some steak!
The thought process went something like this: Figs and blue cheese go really well together. Steak and blue cheese goes really together. Lightbulb on!
This recipe is really rich, yet somehow magically light enough to not be too heavy for a summer meal. The rosemary coating I stole from a salmon recipe I made over Christmas that everybody just raved about, and it all just went together so well. I actually made two steak-and-fig salsa recipes at the same time, and this one was the clear winner. (Although upon eating the leftovers somehow I liked the other one better… that recipe coming soon!)
Rosemary steak with fig and gorgonzola
- 1 venison backstrap tenderloin (between 2 and 3 pounds)
- 1/2 cup fresh rosemary (pulled off the stems)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2lb fresh figs (quartered or eighthed)
- 1/4 red onion (finely chopped)
- 3oz gorgonzola (crumbled)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
|Pull the backstrap out of the fridge to let come to room temp while you prep everything else. (You can just let it sit out as you chop and prep everything.) Preheat the oven to 450. Combine the figs, red onion, blue cheese, balsamic vinegar and 1 T of olive oil and toss to combine. Set aside.|
|In a food processor, blend the rosemary until it's finely chopped, almost powdered. Add the remaining 2 T of olive oil to it in a small bowl and stir. Mixture should be like a paste. Salt and pepper your backstrap to taste and rub the paste all over it. Roast at 450 until your desired doneness, about 15 minutes for medium rare. Let the meat rest for about 5-10 minutes, then slice and top with the fig and cheese mixture. Serve warm and enjoy!|
Non game substitution: You can use either a beef tenderloin or a pork tenderloin if you don’t have venison, just make sure to cook the pork tenderloin all the way through.
For Vegetarians: I don’t really have a vegetarian “steak” to recommend, but you could totally add walnuts to this salsa recipe and put it over salad or a grilled portabello.