Venison tartare with walnut ketchup, pine oil and mushrooms

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This stunning venison tartare recipe from Scott Davies matches beautiful young red deer loin with earthy mushroom mayonnaise, sharp walnut ketchup, smoky charcoal and aromatic pine oil. You can buy the blackberry vinegar and mushroom powder to save time, but making your own will ensure you have plenty left of each for your autumnal store cupboard. You can find his beer vinegar recipe for the mushroom mayonnaise in his recipe for cultured seaweed butter, if you're feeling experimental.

First published in 2017




Venison tartare

Blackberry vinegar (for the venison tartare)

Pine oil

  • 200ml of rapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp of heather honey
  • 20g of Douglas fir pine needles, dried
  • 30g of Douglas fir pine needles, fresh

Mushroom powder (for the mayonnaise)

Mushroom mayonnaise

Walnut ketchup

  • 200g of pickled walnuts, plus 100ml of the pickling vinegar
  • 50g of dark brown sugar
  • 50g of light brown sugar

Leek ash

Charcoal oil

  • 200ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g of charcoal, block form



  • Sterilised jars
  • Muslin cloth
  • Water bath
  • Chamber sealer
  • Vacuum bags
  • High-power blender
  • Squeezy bottle 3


To make the blackberry vinegar for the venison tartare, lightly crush the fresh blackberries and place in a bowl. Cover in distilled malt vinegar, then pour everything into a glass jar and cover with muslin cloth. Leave at room temperature for 5 days then pass through a muslin cloth to strain. Store in the fridge until needed. This will make more than you need for this recipe, but you can store the vinegar and use it in other dishes
Preheat a water bath to 82°C
To make the pine oil, place the dried Douglas fir, honey and oil in a vacuum bag, seal in a chamber sealer and place in the water bath for 1 hour
  • 200ml of rapeseed oil
  • 20g of Douglas fir pine needles, dried
  • 1 tbsp of heather honey
Remove the vacuum bag from the bath and cool. Strain the mix into a high-powered blender, add the fresh Douglas fir and blend on a high speed for 2 minutes. Pass the mixture through a muslin cloth and store in a squeezy bottle. Set aside until needed
  • 30g of Douglas fir pine needles, fresh
To make the mushroom powder for the mayonnaise, place the mushrooms in a dehydrator or oven at 90°C until completely dry and crisp. Blitz in a food processor or spice grinder and pass through a fine sieve
To make the mushroom mayonnaise, blitz the button mushrooms and oil in a blender, pass through a fine sieve and set aside
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk, mustard, vinegar, soy sauce and 1 tbsp of the mushroom powder until thick and almost doubled in volume. Slowly whisk in the mushroom oil mixture and season with salt to taste. Transfer to a squeezy bottle and set aside until needed
To make the walnut ketchup, boil the walnut pickling vinegar with the sugars until completely dissolved
  • 50g of dark brown sugar
  • 50g of light brown sugar
Place the pickled walnuts in a blender with the vinegar and sugar mixture and blitz until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve and transfer to a squeezy bottle
To make the leek ash, char the leeks on a barbecue or over an open flame until black all over (for about 10 minutes). Place the leeks in an oven or dehydrator at 90°C until completely dried out, then blitz to a powder and pass through a fine sieve. Store in an airtight container
To make the charcoal oil, burn the charcoal over a gas burner for 4–5 minutes, until glowing and white. Pour the oil into a small pan with a tightly fitting lid. Add the crumbled charcoal to the oil and cover with the lid. Leave for 1 hour, then pass the oil through muslin cloth. Store in a squeezy bottle until needed
  • 200ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g of charcoal, block form
To make the venison tartare, mix 1 tbsp of the blackberry vinegar with the sugar, boil until the sugar dissolves, then leave to cool. Add the diced raw venison to a bowl, add the Dijon mustard, 1–2 tsp of the charcoal oil and the vinegar and sugar mixture. Season to taste with heather-smoked salt
Spoon 40g portions of the tartare onto each plate and garnish with dots of mushroom mayonnaise and walnut ketchup. Finish with finely sliced mushroom, mixed leaves dressed in a little of the pine oil and a dusting of leek ash powder
First published in 2017

Having worked all over Scotland, Scott Davies took root at the prestigious Three Chimneys, where his clean, Nordic techniques are a perfect fit for Skye’s incredible larder.

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