Spoiler Alert: All vegetarians and vegans please proceed to the next article. The rabbit dies in the end.
Last weekend while perusing the first farmer's market of the year we met Karl. Karl has a lot of product from his farm and as it turns out ...he has rabbit. Just as Karl mentioned this specialty item a man walked up and said he would take one. We were convinced the guy was a plant, but we fell for it. We never met the rabbit in person for which I am grateful. Ours came frozen and ended-up on the grill. Although I grew-up in a house where cow heart sandwiches were not an unusual item to take in my school bag, I had never had rabbit. Saturday night changed that missing element in my life. Karl's rabbits are farm raised so mild in flavor. I anticipated a gamier or stronger flavor then what we ended-up with on our plates. I honestly think we could have served the grilled rabbit to a group and told them it was... yup, chicken. We certainly will give it another go and see if we can bring out the nuances. Anyone have suggestions?
Grilled Citrus Rabbit with Couscous and Grilled Radicchio
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
- 3 teaspoons salt, divided
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 whole rabbit (about 2 pounds), butterflied
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 orange
- 1 cup couscous
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 2 small heads of radicchio, sliced 1/2" thick
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
Combine juices, olive oil, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, rosemary, and garlic in a large ziploc bag or glass baking dish. Add rabbit to marinade and turn to coat. Chill in refrigerator for a couple of hours and this can be made a day ahead.
Mix remaining 2 teaspoons salt, paprika, ground cumin and pepper in small bowl.
Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Remove rabbit from the refrigerator to let it warm to room temperature...about 30 mins. Slice orange into 1/4- to 1/8-inch-thick slices. Wrap 2 heavy bricks with aluminum foil. Remove rabbit from marinade; pat dry. Rub spice mixture over both sides of rabbit. Place rabbit, skin side down, on grill. Place orange slices all over the rabbit. Place foil-wrapped bricks or cast-iron skillet atop rabbit (if using bricks, position 1 brick over top half of rabbit and 1 brick over bottom half). Cover and grill until skin is crispy and brown, about 15 minutes. Remove bricks or skillet. Using tongs or 2 large spatulas, turn rabbit. Replace orange slices. Replace bricks or skillet and cook, covered, until rabbit is cooked through, about 15 minutes longer. Cooking times can vary depending on your grill. You'll want to get to a 160 degrees F. Remove from grill and the rabbit will continue to cook. Let rabbit rest 10 minutes.
Bring water to a boil in a small pan. Add butter and couscous. Remove from heat and cover for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Slice radicchio heads into 1/2" slices. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt. Grill on both sides until slightly softened. About 4 minutes total.