At Primehouse, a modern steakhouse in The James Hotel, Executive Chef Dino Tsaknis knows that employing the right fat at the right time can make all the difference. It’s the secret to the success of his Venison Chop, served with red wine venison sausage made in house, and a lavender broth with diced vegetables and baby root vegetables. “The fat component used to enhance flavor in this dish is trimmed Miyazaki beef fat,” he says. “It has an amazing nutty, mushroom flavor that mildly mimics the flavor that aging gives to beef. It complements the venison very well, while enhancing the overall taste.”
He uses the fat, cut into pats like butter, to sauté the vegetables. For the venison, the fat is added after placing the chop in a lightly oiled pan. “As the fat renders out slowly, I use the pooling fat to baste the venison chop while it roasts,” he says.
Tsaknis often employs fats as flavor-enhancing ingredients, keeping at the ready a broad array of go-to varieties ranging from butter, tallow, lard and poultry fats (including schmaltz, duck fat and goose fat) to virgin oils (olive, seed, nut, plant) to bring optimal balance to a dish.