In Super Chef‘s never ending search for great rabbit recipes, consider the simple preparation of Skillet-Roasted Rabbit with Pancetta-Basted Fingerlings from Ethan Stowell‘s New Italian Kitchen co-written with Leslie Miller (Ten Speed 2010).
The facing page has six photographs by Geoffrey Smith showing how to butcher the rabbit. The recipe has only nine ingredients including two strong flavors that will unite the rabbit and potatoes – garlic and rosemary.
This is a very rustic dish, the meat and potatoes redolent with rosemary and garlic and bathed in butter and pork fat. But as rich as all of that sounds, the best part might be the front legs that end up crispy and delicious as you gnaw the bones, you’ll be reminded more than a little of fried chicken, and that’s never a bad thing. (p. 154-155)
This is a recipe that would turn out a deeply satisfying dish – if you like rabbit – and is typical of Ethan’s cooking in his Seattle restaurants – unfussy and tasty. It is a dish that calls for other dishes to complete a meal. Add something from the first chapter like Nibbles and Bits, like Crispy Young Favas with Green Garlic Mayonnaise (p. 11) or Sardine Crudo with Celery Hearts, Pine Nuts, and Lemon (p. 26). The latter is a light dish of lemony sardines topped with the leaves and tender stalks of celery.
You could also turn to the Pasta and choose Braised Rabbit Paws with Radiatore (p. 89). There aren’t any actual feet in the recipe, though the radiatore pasta shape does look like a paw and will catch the lovely braise. There is also Spaghetti with Garlic, Chile and Sea Urchin (p. 98), a classic dish from the Amalfi Coast, of sea urchin that barely cooks in the pasta.
Ethan strays from strictly Italian in a fun use of the Middle Eastern spice mixture, Zatar-Rubbed Leg of Goat with Fresh Chickpeas, Spring Onion, and Sorrel (p 160-161). This is the kind of dish that would be perfect for a Spring party when it is possible to buy a young goat and find fresh chickpeas – and that underscores Ethan’s cooking – choosing dishes to make a meal or make a party.
New Italian Kitchen is written by a restaurant chef – but the recipes are accessible to the home cook. It is a refreshingly straightforward, and yet imaginative book.