Elk Backstrap & Chermoula Sauce with Green Beans & Anchovy Breadcrumbs

By Jeff Benda

Chermoula is a North African herb sauce traditionally served with fish, but I love it as an accompaniment for venison steak. The garlic and spices make it a perfect combination to slather on a piece of backstrap from my cow elk. The green beans with anchovy breadcrumbs are a mainstay on our Thanksgiving table, but it also works great here. People who have told me they don’t think they like anchovies always compliment this side dish for its rich, salty taste.

Yield: 4-8 servings

Prep time: 15

Total time: 30


For the Chermoula

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

For the Backstrap

  • Elk Backstrap (cut into 1-inch thick steaks)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Black pepper

For the Green Beans

  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1/4 cup Italian-style panko breadcrumbs


  1. For the Chermoula, Mix all ingredients together in a blender until well combined.  You can store this in fridge for up to a week.
  2. For the backstrap,Place a cast iron skillet in the oven and heat to 475 degrees F. Meanwhile, bring the steak to room temperature.
  3. Coat the steak lightly with oil and sprinkle both sides with a generous pinch of salt and black pepper.
  4. When the oven is preheated and the skillet is hot, place it on a stove burner on medium high heat. Immediately add the steak to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Flip the steak and cook another 2 minutes. Return the skillet to the oven and cook steak for about 5 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees F.
  5. Remove the steak from the skillet, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve whole or slice thin and fan onto plate. 
  6. Now for the green beans, Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add the beans. Cook for 4 minutes. Immediately transfer the beans to ice water to cool rapidly.
  7. In a cast iron skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Transfer the beans to the skillet, add the anchovies and breadcrumbs, and toss everything together and cook for 1 more minute. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve right away. Garnish with lemon zest if desired.

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