Tag Archives: rabbit

Rabbit – two ways

Coniglio fritto, confit leg, rocket & walnut pesto, girolles, roast tomatoes and balsamic baby onions

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It has been a while since my last post due to a constant stream of university work and ever shorter days, so I finally managed to put a dish together over the holidays and get some photos just before the light went. This will be the third post out of the last four which uses rabbit as a principal ingredient, reflecting my love for its tasty and versatile meat.

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Instead of roasting or braising the saddle, I recalled a dish I had made with an Italian friend whilst living in Spain. Coniglio Fritto sounds a lot better than fried rabbit, but essentially that is all it is. The meat doesn’t dry out as so often can happen with roasting farmed rabbit and retains a wonderful texture enveloped in a crisp exterior. But laying down a couple of fried fillets didn’t really fit in with the rest of the dish so I wrapped them in Serrano which added a salty element to work with the sweet onions and tomatoes.

The Pesto adds an underlying nuttiness and earthiness to the dish, along with the girolles, which again made for some great flavour pairings. I made the pesto following the fantastic recipe for traditional pesto on Tales of Ambrosia, adjusting the quantities only slightly so it was less liquid.

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If anyone takes just one thing from this dish it should be trying rabbit cooked this way, eaten with some aioli or some pesto, I defy anybody to not be going back for more.

Serves 2

CONIGLIO FRITTO

saddle of rabbit, carefully cut from bone

flour, for dusting

1 egg, beaten

breadcrumbs for coating

oil for deep frying

Heat the oil to 180C

Roll the saddles in the flour, followed by the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. When fully coated, carefully place in the hot oil and cook turning when the underside has browned. After around 4-5 minutes, or when golden brown all over, remove and leave to rest on paper towel.

CONFIT RABBIT LEG

front and hind legs from 1 rabbit

salt & pepper

duck fat, pork fat or sunflower oil

Preheat oven to 130C

The night before, season the legs with salt and pepper and leave covered in the fridge. The next day, rinse off the seasoning and pat dry. Place in an ovenproof pan and cover with your choice of fat. Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes on the hob before covering with foil and cooking in the oven for 4 hours.

ROCKET & WALNUT PESTO

See recipe here, changing pine nuts for lightly toasted walnuts. (I made a larger batch to keep some in the fridge for another time)

GIROLLES

handful of girolles or similar wild mushroom, lightly rinsed

knob of butter

salt

         Heat the butter in a frying pan and when hot, sautee the mushrooms for a couple of minutes until slightly browned. Remove from the heat until ready to serve.

ROASTED TOMATOES

cherry tomatoes on the vine

olive oil

salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 180c

In a small roasting tray, move drizzle with some quality oil and season well. Roast for 15 minutes or until skins are starting to split.

BALSAMIC BABY ONIONS

10 baby onions  such as cipollini, peeled

olive oil

salt & pepper

20ml balsamic vinegar

100ml chicken stock

1 tablespoon butter

         In a bowl season the peeled onions and stir with a couple of tablespoons of oil. Meanwhile heat a heavy-based saute pan or skillet on \ medium-high heat, and add a tablespoon more of oil to this. Add the onions and brown for 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low, add the vinegar and stock, then cover. After 20 minutes, uncover, increase heat to high and add the butter, shaking pan and glazing she onions for 2 minutes.

TO SERVE

Spread a tablespoon of the pesto onto the plate. Wrap the fried saddles in Serrano ham, cut off the ends and plate.

Heat some oil until smoking in a frying pan and quickly but carefully brown both sides of the confited legs. Split the hind legs if large, before plating.

Arrange the vegetables and serve.

Coniglio All’Ischitana e Frittelle di Zucchini

Braised Rabbit and Zucchini Fritters

There are some films which momentarily transport you to another time or place as the story unfolds and then there are those which when finished have a more lasting effect and allow your mind to wonder and wish you had lived in that time or place. For me, one film that produces the latter effect is ‘The Talented Mr.Ripley’. Aside from the playboy lifestyle and amoral / sinister behaviour and eventual murder the viewer is immersed in an idyllic lifestyle spanning various parts of Italy. One of those places is the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples, now a heaving tourist destination, back then it was as traditional and untouched as Islands come.

On Ischia, rabbit is the major source of protein as the steep hills make farming larger animals near impossible. The Italians have a vast variety of preparations for rabbit and this was the first I tried. In Valencia where I lived for the past year, rabbit was the main meat in the traditional Valencian Paella, it was therefore cheap and very available which is much more than can be said for England. Rabbits there were lean and flavoursome, so I was shocked at the large size of the rabbit I picked up from my butchers here but left wanting by the reduced gaminess of the meat.

This braise is quick and for me it is more of a summer dish so to accompany I made some light and creamy Zuchinni fritters by adding a few tablespoons of ricotta to the mix. It was the first time I had made them and I was so happy with the result. They would go great on their own or as a side to other things.

I am in Northern India for the next 3 weeks so this will be the last post for a while.

Coniglio All’Ischitana

Recipe adapted from the fantastic book ‘Al Dente’ by William Black. Serves 4

1 rabbit of around 1.5kg

olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1 chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped

150ml red wine

500g plum tomatoes, chopped or tinned

a couple of thyme, marjoram and rosemary sprigs

small handful of fresh basil

salt and pepper

Ask the butcher to cut the rabbit into large chunks, or do it at home yourself. Wash and pat dry before browning in batches in hot, smoking olive oil in a large casserole or flameproof terracotta pot. Add the garlic and chilli and replace all the browned rabbit.

Add the wine and bring to a boil to reduce slightly over a high heat before adding the tomatoes. Reduce the head to medium and add the thyme, marjoram and rosemary sprigs. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes. Add the basil 5-10 minutes before serving to leave a fresh, fragrant flavour.

The dish can then be served as it is, or for a thicker sauce (like I have done), remove the rabbit chunks and reduce the remaining sauce to the desired consistency. Passing through a chinois once or twice for an even more refined texture. Serve with zucchini fritters, the red wine used in cooking and bruschetta.

Frittelle di Zucchini

Makes 5-6 large fritters

2 medium zucchini

coarse salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Freshly ground black pepper

70g all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons ricotta

Olive or another oil of your choice, for shallow frying

Grate the zucchini or shred in a food processor into ribbons. Then mix through a teaspoon of course salt and place in a colander or sieve over a bowl with a weight on top to squeeze out the liquid (add extra pressure yourself to help squeeze out even more). Alternatively, place in a cheesecloth, tie and squeeze. Removing as much liquid as possible is vital to the mixture holding.

Then combine the rest of the ingredients with the zucchini in a bowl adding a little more salt if desired. When well mixed, leave in the fridge until ready to fry.

To fry, I used a cast iron skillet and poured a thin layer of oil in the bottom. Heat the oil over a medium heat and add a large spoonful (a serving spoon) of the mix to the pan, then flatten slightly with the back of the spoon. Leave for around two minutes before turning over with a spatula to fry for another couple of minutes or until lightly browned.