when i was a kid and they took me to visit my aunts in the country, one of the first things i did once there was to rush and check out the rabbits' cage.
i was not interested in playing with them, cuddling or whatever... i just wanted to make sure they were growing big and fat.
and big and fat they were!
not much to do apart from munching on salad and leftover vegetables and the occasional burst of reproductive frenzy.
i fed them some more, just in case.
those rabbits were destined to become the main ingredient of some of my most delicious childhood memories. my aunts used to make the definitive comfort food. rabbit casserole with porcini mushrooms served with steamy scalding polenta cooked in a copper pot on the fireplace.
oh to be that young and happy again...
in warmer months they would roast the rabbit with white wine with just a simple green salad on the side. those rabbits had lots of fat so they stayed moist and tender even when roasted. and the smells, have i mentioned them yet?? those smells would sneak out of the kitchen and reach us in the garden where we would stop playing straight away and start fighting for the best seat at the table.
oh to be that young and foolish again...
later on, on a trip to tuscany with a girlfriend i discovered -amongst other things- the heavenly delights of rabbit with olives and coniglio in porchetta ie: rabbit stuffed with a magical concoction of wild fennel, garlic, black pepper, rosemary and god knows what else then roasted to pink perfection..
oh to be that... --ooh SHUT up!
when i moved to the UK i was therefore quite shocked to learn that here rabbits are pets. or pests.
animals to be either cuddled or shot at.
on one hand you cannot eat them because you would make little girls cry, on the other you won't eat them because they are too lean and too gamey.
no wonder i have rabbit cravings. sometimes *serious* rabbit cravings.
my solution to those is fake rabbit with olives.
i take some tasty and safe chicken thighs and take the bone out.
in a frying pan i heat some good olive oil with garlic and mixed olives, destoned and lightly crushed. i like to use those wonderful marinated olives you find in arab shops, especially those with herbs and chili. i cook the chicken skin side down until the skin is crisp then turn it to cook and brown the meat.
when ready i pour the lot including all the juices on to a bed of home made hummous.
would my aunts approve?
I don't know but it sort of reminds me of rabbit and its delicious on its own merits.
the cravings are sorted.
until next time.
Posted by carlo