Rabbit is eate all over Italy, but it is a specialty of the island of Ischia, which lies just off the coast of Campania. Rabbits once ran wild there (and were frequent targets of aristocrats' hunting expeditions.) Nowadays, however, they are raised in dirt pits. Fed a diet similar to what rabbits eat in the wild, locals insist that these pit-reared rabbits have a flavor that closely resembles the meat of their wild cousins.
Season and marinate the rabbits a day before you plan to cook them. Although you can grill the front legs with everything else here, you can also opt to save them for a braised dish.
From "A16: Food and Wine" by Nate Appleman and Shelley Lindgren. Published by Ten Speed Press.
- 2 (3- to 4-pound) rabbits
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups black olives, pitted
- 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 wedges preserved Meyer lemon, pith and flesh removed, soaked, and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
- 3 fresh lemons, cut in half crosswise and seeded
- Butcher the rabbit into it's individual pieces or have your local butcher do it for you.
- Evenly distribute the rabbit pieces over your work surface. For the mixed grill, you should now have 4 front legs, 4 drumsticks, 4 boned thighs, 4 belly flaps, 8 rib pieces, and 6 saddle pieces (freeze the remaining bones for a stock or stew.) Season each piece evenly with salt, about 1 tablespoon per rabbit, and set aside.
- For the marinade, combine the parsley, olives, garlic, preserved lemon, and chile flakes in a food processor or in a mortar. Pulse a few times or crush with a pestle until coarsely blended. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil, or drizzle in the olive oil as you crush the ingredients with the pestle. Taste for seasoning. The olives are salty and you have seasoned the rabbit, so you may not need to add salt. Place the rabbit pieces in a large storage container. Pour in the marinade, turn the pieces to coat evenly, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, prepare a hot fire in a grill, spreading the coals evenly for direct-heat cooking. Bring the rabbit pieces to room temperature.
- To prevent some of the smaller pieces, such as the belly flaps, from falling through the grill rack, lay a piece of foil on part of the rack to serve as a safety net. Evenly distribute the rabbit pieces across the grill rack, putting the smallest ones on the foil. Grill the pieces, turning over once or twice to ensure even cooking. The pieces will finish cooking at different times, so pull them off the grill as soon as they are done, place them on a platter, and cover with foil to keep them warm. The belly flaps need only about 1 to 2 minutes to cook; followed by the rib pieces after about 4 minutes; the thighs, drumsticks and the rack after about 7 minutes; and the front legs after about 10 minutes. The pieces are done when golden brown and the juices run clear when the thickest part of the meat is pierced with a fork.
- Serve the rabbit pieces on the same platter. Finish them with a generous drizzle of olive oil, and then garnish the platter with the fresh lemon halves. Serve immediately.
|Amount Per Serving||%DV|
|Serving Size 645g|
|Recipe makes 6 servings|
|Calories from Fat 1070||70%|
|Total Fat 119.45g||149%|
|Saturated Fat 21.23g||85%|
|Trans Fat 0.0g|
|Total Carbs 2.69g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber 0.7g||2%|