Venison Carpaccio with Juniper Vinaigrette

Venison Carpaccio with Juniper Vinaigrette


By Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley
Instagram: @foodforhunters
Website: Food for Hunters

Serves: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Special equipment: meat mallet, plastic wrap

Carpaccio is an Italian dish that’s often served as an appetizer, but you can certainly make a meal of it with some good bread and wine. It’s one of the first raw dishes I’d ever made with wild game -- the gaminess of venison makes it a standout.

As with consuming any raw meat, there’s risk. Make this dish only if you are confident in the quality of your venison, which is why I prefer to butcher my own deer. If you’re still unsure, sear the loin over high heat to kill bacteria on the outside, only long enough to brown because the inside should remain raw. Tightly roll up the meat in plastic wrap to force it into a cylindrical shape and chill in the refrigerator until cold. Forgo pounding the meat in step two. Instead, slice it thinly and proceed with the remaining steps.

To eat carpaccio, use a fork and knife to cut it into bite-size pieces. You can eat carpaccio by itself, but I prefer it on crostini or toasted focaccia bread.


  • 8 ounces venison loin (backstrap)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons capers
  • Handful of arugula
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, lots of it
  • Finishing salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • Focaccia bread
  • Drizzle of olive oil


  • 1/2 teaspoon ground juniper berries
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


  1. Use a mortar and pestle to finely grind juniper berries. In a small mason jar, combine vinaigrette ingredients. Set aside.
  1. Remove all silver skin from venison loin. Slice into 1/3-inch thick medallions. Place a piece of meat between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound thinly with the flat side of a meat mallet until you can see sunlight through it. Keep cold between plastic wrap, and repeat with remaining venison using new sheets of plastic wrap.
  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Dry capers with paper towels. When butter starts to turn brown, add the capers to fry until crispy. Remove capers and drain on a paper towel.
  1. Slice focaccia bread into crostini-size pieces. Drizzle olive oil over bread and toast. Season with finishing salt.
  1. Peel sheets of venison from plastic wrap and assemble on a plate in one layer. Sprinkle with arugula, finishing salt, freshly cracked pepper and generous amounts of grated Parmesan cheese – more than in the photo. Give the vinaigrette a vigorous shake to emulsify, and spoon it over the meat to your liking. Scatter capers on top; if you didn’t burn the butter when frying the capers, you can drizzle that on top, too. Serve immediately with bread.




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