One of the good things about living in France is that you can buy Rabbit in the supermarket, the bad thing is, they ain’t cheap. Back in the UK, I never have to fork out for Rabbits, simply take out the gun and bring back a brace o’coneys. In France I don’t have a gun, let alone land to shoot on and even if I did, there are no bunnies running around the sandy fields of Landes, because trigger-happy hungry Frenchies have already shot them all.
Rather than potting (see potted rabbit post here), pan-frying and stewing Rabbits, a regular occurrence at Hunter Gather Cook HQ, dainty little canapés are rarely served, something that is due to change this year. Secret Productions have asked the HGC team to come to Wilderness Festival in the Cotswolds to have a woodland lounge serving wild canapés and wild cocktails after teaching deer butchery sessions and conducting foraging walks. I can guarantee that this little beauty will certainly make the cut!
Bitesize Bunny: I love it when they just jump into the basket...
Last September, the Mrs and I tied the knot in deepest darkest Sussex. Naturally, the whole event was a largely bucolic affair in the corner of a field with tents, tipis, hog roasts, hay bales and some fancy cocktails. Wild food and foraged fare was the main theme on the menu, but as I was in the process of getting hitched and my instructors were guests- who do you get to do the catering and do it well?
Dapper: One of the rare occasions I wear a suit.
Fortunately, we were recommended an excellent Sussex based caterer: Sarah Litchfield of Elm Green, who not only took up the challenge of a wild food menu for the day but delivered an excellent feast. Our list of canapés that were drawn up included the deconstructed Rabbit Caesar salad and it was a firm favourite with many of the guests, some who had never tried Rabbit before…
For the Rabbit:
- Haunches from 2 rabbits, pre-cooked in a court bouillon (see here)
- 1 egg.
- 60g plain white flour (seasoned)
- 100g bread crumbs.
- Salt & Pepper
For the Caesar Salad Dressing:
- 5 TBSP of Mayonnaise
- 1TBSP of cider vinegar
- Small handful Grated Parmesan
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 anchovies (finely chopped)
- Salt & Pepper
- Water for thinning the dressing.
- 2 heads of Little Gem lettuce.
First deal with the rabbit. They will need to be cooked in a court bouillon for 1 ½ hours so the meat will flake off the bone, 2 hours is too long, you want the meat to still have a fair amount of hold so they can be made into goujons.
Now make the dressing. This certainly isn’t the purest of dressing, we use shop bought mayo as we don’t have anywhere to plug the kitchen aid in at our off-grid kitchen in the woods. Now for a good little tip: If you can, try to keep a bulb of garlic in the freezer to take out with you in the field, below 0˚C garlic cells denature and become a lot less fierce. Finely chop the garlic and anchovies and mix up in a bowl with the rest of the dressing ingredients, at this point taste, season and add a little water to thin the dressing down.
Once you have all your rabbit pieces, lay out three plates: one with seasoned flour, one with a whisked egg and one with breadcrumbs. Dip and roll your rabbit pieces in each in the above order and ensure a thorough coating all over and then place to one side.
Heat up a frying pan with a good glug of cooking oil in it, dip in one end of the rabbit goujons to see if it starts to fry, if so, you are ready to cook- place in all the goujons and fry until lightly golden, flip them over and repeat. Remove and place on a paper towel.
Take a couple of heads of little gem lettuce and break off all the leaves and wash well. You are now ready to plate up on the platter of your choice. The nice thing about this canapé is the DIY-ness of it all, a bit like when you get one of those hot stones in a restaurant and pay an arm and a leg to cook your own meal. Grab a rabbit goujon, dip in the dressing and then place it in a little gem leaf. Eat. Then repeat...and repeat again.
So what does a Hunter-Gatherer's Wedding look like? Mostly homemade...