Meal: Venison steak in wine with ramps, fiddleheads, and baked potato.

Back Story: We have great neighbors. They bring us fresh fish, cheesecake, and beer. They sometimes let us breed our dog with theirs. Recently, they brought us venison loins. We love the Merchant Steak recipe from Jacques Pepin and had all of the fixins’, so we decided to do that tonight. We knew it would go well with our fiddleheads and ramps from our local delivery service. We also had a great bottle of wine a friend gave Dan. Perfect!

Method: Move your family to a place where a neighbor will give you venison. Once you have venison, salt/pep and set aside to get to room temp. Bake your potato (2 little ones cook in one hour at 425). Chop carrot, garlic, onion ramps & mushroom. Also chop 4 cloves of garlic– half will go in the sauce and the other half in the fiddlehead sauté. Boil water to blanch the fiddle heads and carrots, separately. Set each aside after blanching for a 4 minutes. Heat olive oil in a pan. Sear the venison for 2 mins each side. We like it medium rare. Remove from heat and set aside. Add onion, ramps, & 1/2 the garlic and cook for 5 minutes or so. Add mushrooms and blanched carrots. Cook for 5 mins or so. At this time, sauté blanched fiddleheads in butter and garlic for 3 minutes or so. Cover and keep warm. Add 1/2 cup of red wine to the veggies. Don’t cook with any wine you wouldn’t drink. This wine was a Spanish cabernet. After the wine has reduced, add a cup of stock. We didn’t have stock tonight so I used a bit of Demi glacé mixed with water instead. Tip: Freezing demi glace in an ice cube tray is a MF secret weapon. Just drop a cube into a cup of water whenever you need stock and are out. After the stock has reduced to 3/4 cup, add the cornstarch (1 tsp dissolved in 2 tsps water), 2 tsps dijon mustard, and 1 tsp Worchester sauce. Stir til thick, then return the steaks to the skillet. Be sure to add any juices that came out during the rest phase. Flip a couple of times just to coat them.

Plating: Slice the potato open and add butter/chive, plate fiddleheads, then steak. Top with sauce. Toast your neighbors & enjoy!!

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