Rack of venison with black salsify salad recipe

Try growing the black salsify yourself
Try growing the black salsify yourself - Matt Austin

A rack of venison can be treated in exactly the same way as a rack of lamb; you can also cut the rack into cutlets to fry or grill. Depending on the size of the deer, you may need to allow 2-4 bones per person.

Black salsify (or scorzonera) isn’t produced widely in the UK (look to riverford.co.uk and finefoodspecialist.co.uk to buy online), but if you grow it yourself you’ll know that, like Jerusalem artichokes, you can leave it in the ground until you need it. Once dug, it will last a couple of weeks in the fridge in a ziplock bag or wrapped in a damp cloth. Peeled and cooked, it can be served like white asparagus, sliced in a salad, or teamed with other root vegetables.


Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes




  • 4 black salsify sticks, trimmed and peeled

  • juice of ½ lemon

  • 1-2 racks of venison with 8-16 ribs, depending on size

  • a little vegetable or corn oil

  • 20ml cider

  • 80ml rapeseed oil

  • 4 handfuls of small salad leaves and herbs

For the sauce

  • 100ml beef or chicken stock

  • 1 tbsp quince paste (membrillo) or other fruit paste/‘cheese’


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6.

  2. Halve the peeled salsify widthways, if necessary to fit into a saucepan. Cover with salted water, adding the lemon juice, and cook for 5-6 minutes or until tender. Drain and leave to cool.

  3. Season the venison rack. Heat a little oil  in an ovenproof, heavy-based frying pan and add the rack, browning it on all sides for a few minutes.

  4. Transfer the pan to the oven for 5-6 minutes, depending on the size of the rack, keeping it nice and rare.

  5. Meanwhile, heat the stock and membrillo together in a saucepan and whisk until it has emulsified. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

  6. Whisk together the cider and rapeseed oil. Slice the salsify thinly on the diagonal then toss the strips with the leaves and cider dressing.

  7. Arrange on serving plates then slice the venison between the ribs and arrange the cutlets next to the salad. Drizzle the sauce over or serve it separately.

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