If you're game to try something different with your deer, put it in a salad.

Thyme-crusted venison fillet salad is the perfect dish if you’re tempted by the earthy seasonal flavours of game meat. Slice it finely into your salad and you can get more bang for your buck.

Here, the crunch of the almonds contrasts well with the tenderness of the thyme-crusted venison fillet salad. This game meat is best when it is still tender in the centre, not too gamey-tasting, sliced into thin strips and served with a fresh salad. It is best to cook venison using a hot pan and sear the fillet at high heat until golden. The resting time is the most important part; remember to rest your fillet for at least five minutes after frying it on the pan. If you don’t, the juices from the meat will flow leaving your fillet dry. Resting allows everything that’s going on within the steak to calm down. This will ensure the best flavours for your thyme-crusted venison fillet salad. For more salad inspiration take a look at our other 7 best salads for shooting lunches.

THYME-CRUSTED VENISON FILLET SALAD

Serves 12 alongside 1 or 2 main dishes

■ 6 red onions, peeled and sliced into rounds 1cm (2⁄5in) thick
■ 3 tbsp cooking-quality balsamic vinegar
■ 4 tbsp olive oil
■ 5 tbsp hot horseradish sauce
■ 2 tbsp best-quality balsamic vinegar
■ 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
■ 1kg (21⁄5lb) venison fillet
■ 1 tbsp chopped thyme
■ 100g (31⁄2oz) flaked almonds, toasted
■ 250g (9oz) rocket

Before preparing your Thyme-crusted venison fillet salad Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Mix the onions with 3 tbsp cooking balsamic, 3 tbsp of the olive oil and 3 tbsp water. Place in an oven-proof dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake for an hour or so until soft. Stir through the horseradish, good balsamic and the extra-virgin olive oil. Keep warm. Smear the remaining olive oil on the fillet and season with salt, pepper and thyme. Sear it in a hot frying pan, then roast the fillet for four to eight minutes at 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. When cooked, let it rest for five minutes before slicing thinly.

To serve your thyme-crusted venison fillet salad: toss the warm red onions and venison with the almonds and rocket. Works well when served with tarts/quiches or with other fish/meat salads.