When we saw elk at the Farmers Market this weekend, we couldn’t resist.  Elk is extremely low in fat, which makes it a great healthy option – elk has under 1% fat, compared to chicken which has 2-4% fat.  It also tastes great!Because its so lean though, you want to take care not to cook it too much or it will get tough. I recommend medium-rare, but I definitely wouldn’t serve it past medium.

When thinking about how to prepare the elk, I remembered a cooking demonstration that I recently attended where it was serves on top of a quinoa pilaf. Quinoa is something that I’ve been wanting to play around with for a while, so I decided that’s what I was going to do. Quinoa was once considered “the gold of the Incas” so for some reason it made sense for me to serve this with elk. Quinoa is thought to be one of the world’s healthiest foods. The taste is nutty and similar to couscous. Make sure you rinse it before you cook it or it will become bitter.

I served this with fiddleheads on the side. These are another thing that I’ve really been wanting to try, and i figured I should make them while they were still available! I took Kate from the Peony and the Bee‘s suggestion to blanch them and then sautee with sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, crushed red peppers, and garlic. They were fantastic! It was hard to place the flavor, but they were almost like a cross between string beans and broccoli. But better! I was a little concerns that the Asian flavors wouldn’t go well with the rest of the meal but they actually went perfectly.

Grilled Elk with Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 jalapenio, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1/2 plum tomato, diced
  • 2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 large basil leaves, chopped
  • 8oz NY strip Elk steak
  • Montreal steak seasoning

Combine qinoa and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer about 15 minutes or until all water has been absorbed. Meanwhile, combine 1 Tbs olive oil, peppers, garlic, and onion in a sautee pan. Cook until onion is translucent and vegetables soften. Add to quinoa along with remaining oil, tomato, orange juice, vinegar, and basil. Toss well to combine.

To prepare elk, heat grill to high. Season steaks with steak seasoning. Grill until desired doneness – about 7-8 minutes for rare. Serve over quinoa.

Serves 2.

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