The first thing you need to know is that you can get an entire rabbit, skinned, with all its parts, at the local market, here in Spain. The second thing is that yes, it is a little horrifying.
The thing is, rabbit is delicious. I made rabbit stew in Mexico a few times, but it was always from frozen conejos and they were much smaller. This bunny was huge. Cole was quite impressed. I feel like if you’re going to eat meat you might as well own the reality of where it comes from, and if you can, buy whole chickens or in this case rabbit, so you’re not always eating neatly packaged, anonymous bits of protein, but instead you have a real animal in your kitchen. It just feels more respectful in a way, acknowledging the source.
Of course this is normal in most parts of the world, and they don’t have kids who grow up to be surprised that the chicken nuggets they’ve been consuming are actually from, you know, actual chickens, which they also love, even if it’s just from their story books.
“Cole, this is a rabbit.”
He comes in closer. “Look at it’s eye.”
“I know. Look at his tongue.”
A long minute passes and he says, “I want to touch it!”
Okay, good, so child not scarred for life. Moving on…
A traditional way to cook rabbit here is on the grill, but if you don’t have a BBQ grill you can also chop up the rabbit and pan grill it. The key is the Aioli, which is a garlic mayo that came from Catalunya, and is sold in the shops as All-i-oli. We made some from scratch:
-1 garlic clove
– 1 cup olive oil
– juice of a half a lemon
You chop, then mash, and really if you can puree the garlic. Add a healthy pinch of salt, then whisk in the egg. Slowly drizzle in the oil olive while you whisk (if you have a food processor or blender this will make your life much easier). Then slowly add in the lemon juice while whisking. Done.
Cover your rabbit with it, setting a little aside for later. Grill it on low. We had to cut off the hind legs and grill those longer. Or you can do it the more traditional way which is to pin the rabbit stretched out flat. Or you could cut it all up into about 8 pieces and then grill it.
It cooked fast! We served it over rice with the grilled onion and peppers I had tossed on the grill a few minutes before the rabbit. You use the extra aioli for dipping the final cooked meat. The end result is this garlicky and smokey meat that’s slightly gamey but still tender. Delicious. Will definitely try this again, although I’d like to try oven roasting it, then maybe using the bones and left overs to make broth. Rabbit noodle soup… so many possibilities.