Back in the Middle Ages, Italian peasants used to eat their food off of thin slices of bread. They did this because they were broke and could not afford plates. While the origination of this Italian classic was based off of poverty, today it is considered “gourmet.”
You can literally put anything on top of crostini. However, modern tradition is typically aged or seared meats, herbs and cheeses. This recipe I use seared venison heart, which is very American. Chimichurri, which is Argentine. And horseradish cream which originated in Eastern Europe.
So needless to say, the possibilities are endless. If you don’t happen to have a fresh venison heart just laying around, feel free to substitute this meat with anything.
Venison steaks (backstraps are ideal), beef and even poultry or fish. Get creative.
Venison Heart Crostini
1 venison heart
Salt and pepper
1 French baguette
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of feta cheese
Horseradish Cream Ingredients:
4 tbsp of drained, spicy horseradish (or add more or less to taste)
1 ¼ cup of sour cream
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bushel of fresh Italian parsley
2 large cloves of garlic
1 serrano pepper (Optional. These suckers are pretty spicy!)
Juice of a half of a lime
1-2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Thaw venison heart (or any meat) in the refrigerator the night before. Disassemble the heart by cutting along the muscle groups. Much like you would on an animal’s hind quarter. These muscle groups will be separated by a very thin tissue.
Once the muscles groups are separated, remove all the gross bits. This includes the stringy nasties inside that help the heart pump. Also remove any other ventricles, blood clots, fat etc. Then, prior to cooking, salt and pepper both sides liberally.
Let the heart sit at room temperature for at least one hour. (up to 3 hours). I like to make my chimichurri and horseradish cream the night before. As they sit, the flavor profile intensifies, but you can make them the same day if your crunched for time.
For the horseradish cream, mix all ingredients in a bowl. Then stir, cover with plastic, and put it in the refrigerator.
For the chimichurri, combine all ingredients into a food processor or grinding stone and blend/grind until all ingredients are reduced to a paste.
Add olive oil to a smoking hot cast iron pan. Then add the heart steaks. Sear on both sides until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 132 degrees. This should only take a few minutes.
Remove from the skillet and let rest at room temperature for 5 minutes. While the heart is resting, slice your bread and broil them in the oven until slightly golden brown. This should only take about a minute.
With a spoon, now schmear the horseradish cream on top of each piece of toasted bread. Now slice the heart steaks AGAINST the grain of the steaks. (See pic) Never cut a steak with the grain. This will make it chewy. Next, add a piece or two of heart on top of the horseradish cream. Then add a light layer of chimichurri. Finish with feta cheese on top, a drizzle fo’ shizzle of olive oil and a sprig of fresh rosemary for garnish.
Seared Venison Heart w/ Chimichurri and Horseradish Cream? Sssstop…