Herb-rubbed First Light Venison Shortloin with Salad

, from Issue #84. May, 2019
Photography by Kate Battersby.
Herb-rubbed First Light Venison Shortloin with Salad

Chef Marc Soper creates a hearty, vibrant and feel-good salad recipe by using prime First Light venison shortloin, a herb rub and pickled raspberries. First Light products can be purchased from Greenlea Butcher Shop.

Serves: 8-10


Foraged herb rub
1 tablespoon olive oil (I used Olivo Estate)
3 tablespoons each chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, parsley and kawakawa leaves (basil leaves can be used as a substitute)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh lavender flower heads
Pickled raspberries
150ml raspberry or red wine vinegar
50 grams sugar
100 grams fresh firm raspberries
¼ large crown pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 1 cm cubes
1 broccoli, cut into florets
4 red onions, quartered
olive oil for drizzling as required (I used Olivio)
flaky salt and cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1½ tablespoons caster sugar
1-2 cobs corn
400g green beans, trimmed and cut into small even pieces
50ml Olivo Estate blend olive oil
80 grams manuka honey
½ cup broad beans, peeled
3 tablespoons each chopped fresh mint and parsley
3 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
125 grams soft goat’s cheese, crumbled (I used The Drunken Nanny Black Tie Goat’s Cheese)
1½ large handfuls wild watercress or wild baby rocket
2 x 500-gram packets First Light Venison Short Loins or 2 x 500 gram packets Venison Rumps, patted dry
olive oil for drizzling
flaky sea salt


Foraged herb rub: Mix the herbs together and refrigerate in a covered container for up to 48 hours before using.

Pickled raspberries: Place the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cool then add the raspberries and set aside for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Salad: Place the pumpkin, broccoli florets and red onion on three separate lined trays. Drizzle each with olive oil, sprinkle with flaky sea salt, toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Sprinkle the thyme and sugar over the red onions.

Roast the pumpkin for 10-12 minutes until dry and tender. Roast the red onion for 10-15 minutes until soft and starting to dry up. Roast the broccoli for 8 minutes until tender but starting to char a little.

Blanch the corn and green beans in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 4 minutes and drain. Remove the kernels from the cob. Place the roasted vegetables, corn and beans in a large bowl.

Preheat the barbecue grill to hot.

Venison: Place the short loins or rumps in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, then massage the foraged herb rub into the meat and season well with flaky salt.

Place the venison on the grill and sear on one side for 5 minutes. Turn and sear on the other side for 5 minutes with the barbecue lid closed. The rumps will need 6-8 minutes each side.

Remove the venison from the heat, place on a piece of tin foil and roll up. Rest for 7-10 minutes before slicing thinly.

To assemble: Drain the raspberries, reserving the pickling liquid. Whisk the pickling liquid with the olive oil, honey and season with salt to make a dressing.

Add the broad beans, mint, parsley, some of the pumpkin seeds and some of the goat’s cheese to the bowl with the vegetables. Mix together gently. Add some of the greens and some of the venison slices. Drizzle over the dressing and mix gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Divide the salad among large serving dishes and arrange the remaining venison, greens, goat’s cheese and pumpkin seeds over the top. Scatter the pickled raspberries over and around.