Blackened Venison Steaks with Red Wine and Black Pepper Syrup

What do you get when you put a pair of devoted hunters and anglers in charge of one of the country's most storied restaurants? For game and fish easter, something like paradise.Ti Adelaide Martin is a managing partner at New Orleans's Commander's Palace, where Tory McPhail is the executive chef. Commander's Wild Side (William Morrow; $30) is their sublime compendium of game and fish recipes that ranges from dove to mountain lion. Here's one of McPhail's venison favorites:

Ingredients
-Four 8-oz. venison steaks, about 1/2 inch thick
-1/2 cup dry red wine
-1/2 cup cane syrup (recommended: Steen's Pure Cane Syrup)
-1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
-4 tsp. Creole seasoning, such as Tony Chachere's or Emeril's
-4 tsp. vegetable oil

Directions
1. Combine the wine and cane syrup in a small saucepan. Simmer gently until reduced by two-thirds, about 18 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in pepper.
2. Pat the venison steaks dry with kitchen towels (paper towels will stick). Sprinkle the Creole seasoning on both sides.
3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it is very hot and just smoking, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the oil, swirling to coat the bottom of the skillet. Once it's hot, sear the steaks until dark brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the meat over, reduce the heat to medium, and sear for 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare.
4. Transfer the steaks to a platter and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve them drizzled with the sauce, with the mashed turnips alongside. Serves 4.

On the Side - Bacon Mashed Turnips

Ingredients
-2/3 cup chopped bacon
-1 cup chopped onion
-1 lb. small turnips; chopped
-3 cups milk
-2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
-Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
_
Directions_
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. COok the bacon, stirring until the fat is rendered and the bacon is just beginning to color, about 4 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the turnips and milk, bring to a simmer, and cook until the turnips are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain in a colander. Return the mixture to the pan and add the butter, salt, and pepper. Stir vigorously with a heavy wooden spoon until roughly mashed.