This is a little riff on bunnies and what they eat. I love to serve rabbit with carrots, since their meat is a little sweet, and because bunnies like to eat carrots.
It goes a little deeper than serving an animal with what it eats though. In French, you might say you are serving the rabbit in it’s “terroir”, which translates to time and place, roughly. All of the ingredients here are things that a bunny might eat, little seeds and nuts, root vegetables, ramp leaves, and buckwheat.
This is a recipe that’s fun to make, pretty, and good to eat, but it’s also evocative of how I like to cook. Spring is fast approaching, but there are still root vegetables around, so serving the roots here with the young dandelions that are just coming up makes this a bit of a segue between winter and spring cooking.
People used to cook seasonally, but with the advent of produce becoming available worldwide anytime you want, we have lost a bit of the soul of our food. It’s fulfilling to cook things together when the season gives them to you, it’s a natural way of preparing food.
Rabbit loin with Roots, Ramp Gastrique, And Dandelions
Serves 4 as a light entree
- 8 rabbit loins, chicken tenderlions could be substituted
- 4 cups mixed, cut root vegetables, such as carrots, rutabagas, turnips and celery root
- Buckwheat flour, for dredging the rabbit
- 4 tbsp ramp gastrique, recipe here
- Baby dandelion greens, to garnish
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds, toasted
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Grapeseed or canola oil for sauteing
- Wash and clean the danelion greens, if they are very clean you may not have to do much to them.
- Blanch the root vegetables individually in lightly salted, boiling water until tender, refreshing each on in ice water after they are cooked through. When all of the roots are done, combine them in a pan with the ramp gastrique. Heat the roots and keep warm while you saute the rabbit.
- Heat a pan with oil until lightly smoking, season the rabbit loins with salt and pepper and then roll in the buckwheat flour. Brown the rabbit on all sides until golden brown. Since rabbit loins are small, by the time they are browned they will likely be cooked through. Set them aside to rest for a moment before slicing.
Finishing and plating
- Heat the roots and taste for salt and pepper. If the pan gets dry add a little water to coat them in a nice, shiny glaze. Add the butter and toss to incorporate.
- Place some roots on each of four dinner plates. Slice the rabbit into two inch logs and arrange on the roots. Garnish with the sunflower seeds and dandelions and serve immediately.