There are many things to love about Alaska, but what I think I love about it the most is the state offers up some of the best food on the planet for anyone willing to put in a bit of hard work. I’ve hunted and fished the Last Frontier several times and each trip was special, as much for sweat and toil as the sweeping vistas and plentiful game. I shared this last trip with a friend who also happens to be the editor-in-chief of Field & Stream–Anthony Licata. Each of us returned from the hunt with a box overflowing with food, so Anthony offered up a challenge: a Kodiak surf-and-turf Food Fight.
David’s Crab-Stuffed Blacktail Backstrap
I never really believe you could improve upon a backstrap, especially one from a blacktail deer. But it is possible if you stuff it with a mix of fresh tanner crab, mascarpone, capers, and a little lemon juice. I sealed it up with some pancetta, seasoned the steak simply with French sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, then grilled the whole thing with a light smudge of alder wood. Served with brown rice and garlic-roasted Brussels sprouts. The drink? The one thing worthy of such a fine meal – a healthy splash of The Macallan 12-year scotch.
Anthony’s Kodiak Tasting Menu
I came back from Kodiak Island with a box of frozen plunder that was a good representation of how much fishing and hunting we crammed into one week. I tried to cram it all into a meal as big and rich as Kodiak. First up, a take on bouillabaisse featuring crab and halibut. The first key to the dish was a flavorful stock made from slowly simmering a potful of crab shells with aromatic vegetables. For the second course I went heavy: a thick venison ragu over parpadelle. I browned onion, garlic, and carrots, then browned cubes of venison. I added some red wine and very slowly simmered it until the venison disintegrated. Four hours at least. It was so good that I ate the leftovers for breakfast.