There's no need to let standards slip just because you are feasting alfresco. Philippa Davis' venison salad niçoise puts a game twist on a classic, and it's guaranteed to please a crowd

Retain your culinary standards alfresco, even without a table, chairs and pressed linen. Philippa Davis’ venison salad niçoise makes an impressive main for a picnic and this game twist on a classic is guaranteed to delight your guests.

For more game mains fit for picnics, try our wild rabbit skewers with a toasted cashew, mango and carrot salad.


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.