Raw venison, chimichurri, brassicas, coal dressing

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Alex Bond really flexes his creativity with this beautiful venison tartare starter. There's plenty going on here – a chimichurri emulsion and a smoky coal dressing as well as charred gem leaves, pickled vegetables and sourdough croutons, but the finished dish is clean and light, a perfect dinner party starter.

First published in 2020




Venison tartare

Chimichurri oil

Chimichurri emulsion

Coal oil

  • 250ml of vegetable oil
  • 1 lump of charcoal, glowing hot from a barbecue

Coal dressing

Pickled vegetables

  • 100ml of water
  • 65ml of white wine vinegar
  • 35g of sugar
  • 1/2 kohlrabi, cut into 1cm dice
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut into 1cm dice


Gem lettuce


  • large brassica shoots, such as kohlrabi, broccoli, red Russian kale and cauliflower


  • High-power blender


Start by making the coal oil ahead of time, which requires a lot of care – ideally wear heatproof gloves and do this step outside. Put the oil in a deep pan, then carefully lower a hot piece of charcoal into the oil, taking care as the oil will spit. Leave the oil to infuse for 20-30 minutes, then strain and keep in a bottle. This makes more than you need for the recipe, but coal oil adds a lovely smoky flavour to all sorts of dishes and keeps indefinitely
  • 250ml of vegetable oil
  • 1 lump of charcoal, glowing hot from a barbecue
To make the chimichurri oil, blend all the ingredients in a high powered blender. Blend on full power until the mixture heats up to around 64ºC, then hang in a muslin cloth set over a bowl overnight. Once strained, discard the solids and reserve the chimichurri oil. Again, this will make more than you need but you can use the oil in other dishes
To make the pickle, combine the water, vinegar and sugar in a pan and warm until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool, then pour over the diced kohlrabi and cucumber and leave to pickle overnight
  • 100ml of water
  • 65ml of white wine vinegar
  • 35g of sugar
  • 1/2 kohlrabi, in 1cm dice
  • 1/2 cucumber, in 1cm dice
The next day, make the chimichurri emulsion. Whisk the egg yolk, lemon and salt together until well emulsified. Slowly add the chimichurri oil – whisking constantly – until you reach the desired thickness (ideally something slightly thicker than Hellmann's mayonnaise). This should require about 120ml of oil. Once you're happy with the consistency, reserve in a squeezy bottle for later
To make the coal dressing, blend the vinegar, xanthan gum, honey and Dijon mustard together until well emulsified. Slowly add the oils along with 65ml of the coal oil (with the motor still running) until you have a thick dressing. Finish with salt and more coal oil to taste
Take the diced sourdough and fry in foaming butter until golden. Drain on a jay cloth or piece of kitchen towel and season with salt
  • 200g of sourdough, cut into 1cm dice, use leftovers if possible
  • 50g of butter
  • Maldon salt
Cut the gem lettuce in half through the root, then season and lightly oil the cut sides. Char on a barbecue or in a hot pan, then remove the root and lightly dress the individual leaves with some of the coal dressing
Finely dice the venison into 0.5cm cubes and season with salt. Mix with the diced shallot and chives
To serve, place the raw venison on the bottom of each plate, then place dots of the chimichurri emulsion on top. Add the croutons and the pickled vegetables, then cover with a few gem leaves. Finish with a mixture of brassica shoots and a few more dots of the coal dressing
  • large brassica shoots, kohlrabi, broccoli, red Russian kale and cauliflower
First published in 2020

After working with the likes of Sat Bains and Richard Turner, Alex Bond is blazing his own trail at Alchemilla in Nottingham, where his innovative dishes have made him one of the most exciting chefs in the country.

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