I love to eat heart, it is hands down my favorite part of the animal. When ever I shoot a deer the heart is the first thing I eat. I only get to shoot one or two deer every year so heart is usually a rare treat for me. Sometimes however, a friend of mine will call and let me know they have saved the heart out of an animal they shot. This year my friend Ben Pena shot his first Elk while hunting in Wyoming. He called when he got back to Minnesota and I volunteered to help him with some of the butchering. Not only did Ben save me the heart but I also got an elk tongue and a very nice roast out of the deal as well.
Heart can be prepared many different ways, I like to roll it in flour and fry it then serve it with eggs over easy and toast for breakfast. But my favorite way to eat heart is raw and making a tartare. You can't do this with just any heart but when you get a fresh heart that is pristine and untouched, you can. It is always a good idea when you get a heart or any meat that you intend to eat raw to freeze it for at least a week or more. Whenever I get a heart that I want to make into tartare, I examine it to make sure there is nothing wrong with it and that it doesn't have any sort of parasite on it. Then I vacuum seal it and place it in the freezer for a week.
When I am ready to make my tartare I let the heart thaw just enough so that it is still kind of frozen in the middle. I trim off all the fat and the outer membrane and then trim off any fiber on the inside of the heart also. I know most tartare is diced up with a knife but because the heart is such a dense muscle I like to grind it through a medium plate on my meat grinder. I have also made a few changes to a traditional tartare. I like to use dry cured egg yolks
instead of raw egg yolks. I think it still adds the same amount of creamy texture and the flavor it so much better. The only other really noticeable change is that I don't use anchovies I use Creamed smoked roe. It still adds a little salty fishy taste but it has a smokey sweetness to it that I really like.
Elk Heart Tartare
8 ounces ground heart
2 tablespoons grated dry cured yolk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp creamed smoked roe
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced capers
1 tablespoon minced gherkins
2 tablespoons shopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
grind the heart into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients, mix thoroughly making sure to keep the mixture as cold as possible. Add salt sparingly the roe, yolks, capers and gherkins all have salt in them. serve with toast points and garnish with more grated dry cured yolk.