The date and pecan crust in this dish balances the slight gaminess of the venison, which is increasingly available at specialty meat shops. Green beans and turnip make great side dishes.
2 cups (500 mL) pecans
1/2 cup (125 mL) icing sugar
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) pitted Medjool dates
2 Tbsp (30 mL) brandy
2 cups (500 mL) water
3 lb (1.5 kg) venison striploin
Fleur de sel and fresh pepper
Blanch pecans for 1 minute in simmering water. Drain and dry quickly. Toss with icing sugar; then arrange on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 F (160 C) for 10 minutes or until caramelized. Remove and let cool. Keep some of the nicest ones whole as a garnish before chopping the rest. Set aside.
Place dates in a pot with brandy and water. Cook on medium-high heat until dates are almost dry. Pure in a food processor. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Clean the loin of any sinew. Season venison with salt and pepper and sear on all sides in a pan over medium-high heat. Remove and spread with a thin layer of date pure. Coat with chopped pecans, pressing down to ensure they stick.
Place coated venison on tray and bake until medium-rare, about 15 to 20 minutes, or to an internal temperature of 125 to 130 F (52 to 54 C). Let meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
source: "Rustic Regionalism", alive #313, November 2008
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