Make feasting al fresco an occasion this summer, with a game main that puts a twist on a classic. Try Philippa Davis' venison salad niçoise

Even without chairs, a table or pressed linen, don’t let your culinary standards slip alfresco. Game makes excellent fare for summer suppers, so include it in your picnic. Philippa Davis’ venison salad niçoise is well worth a go.

Country house opera may be cancelled or postponed, so put on a picnic worthy of Glyndebourne’s lawns at home instead. Don your finery, feast on our appropiately operatic pasta alla Norma and choose a talented family member to provide the entertainment.


Serves 8

  • 1kg venison fillet
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 220g green beans, blanched in boiling water for a couple of minutes then allowed to cool
  • 500g small new potatoes, cooked then cooled
  • 4 heads baby gem lettuce, ends cuts off and leaves separated
  • 300g black pitted olives
  • 6 medium tomatoes (I used heirloom for their flavour and colours), chopped into large, bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cucumber, chopped into large, bite-sized pieces
  • 1 bunch red radish, washed and cut in half
  • 2 green peppers, deseeded and cut into 2cm squares


  • Seasoning
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 8 anchovies, finely chopped
  • 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple juice

To make the dressing, place a pinch of salt and some pepper in a bowl.

Whisk in the vinegar then add the mustard, anchovies, olive oil and apple juice.

Check the seasoning then pour into a jar with a lid.

To make the salad, roll the fillet in the rosemary, olive oil and some salt and pepper.

Sear the fillets on all sides in a hot frying pan for a couple of minutes then turn down the heat and cook for another 2 minutes on each side. Leave to rest in the pan. Once cool, slice into strips and place in a box or wrap in foil.

Place the eggs in a large pan of rapidly boiling water for 6 minutes, then plunge into an ice bath, peel once cold.

In a small bowl add a pinch of salt to the red onion and stir in the 2 tbsp red wine vinegar. Leave for 15 minutes then strain away the vinegar.

Place all the ingredients into box/boxes to transport, keeping the separate ingredients in their own piles as they will transport better. Keep the lettuce leaves separate or on top as you want to place them at the bottom of the salad for serving.

Once at your chosen picnic spot… Place the lettuce leaves over a large board or platter then scatter the other ingredients on top, shake the dressing in the jar then drizzle all over and let everyone tuck in.