Our friend Katharine, who seems to be determined to keep us in rabbits, tracked down a source for local, farm-raised bunnies and brought us one. This one, unlike the one we braised last week (which she shot in her garden), was a tender young thing and nicely fat, which opened up the cooking possibilities considerably. I decided to follow my friend Laura’s suggestion and fry it like chicken. I found a recipe for Buttermilk Fried Rabbit on the site Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook, and given that I’ve never even fried chicken before, I thought this came out very well.
Jon took apart the rabbit the night before, carefully following these excellent instructions. I tossed the parts into a bag with the last of our buttermilk, plus some paprika, thyme and cayenne, and let it sit overnight.
After scrubbing some of our newly harvested purple potatoes and getting them safely into the oven, I started frying. I put two cups of flour and a teaspoon of salt into another ziploc bag and tossed a few goopy, buttermilky rabbit parts in the flour to coat them, then slid them into a pan of hot oil and cooked them until they looked golden and crunchy. I was able to do the entire rabbit in two pan-loads, which took nearly an hour all told.
I ate several of the boneless belly pieces hot off the rack. They were excellent (very reminiscent of mcnuggets – not that I eat mcnuggets), but I immediately started craving ranch dressing. We didn’t have any, so we ended up eating our fried rabbit with Frank’s Hot Sauce, as well as our roast potatoes and some blanched purple pole beans. We opened a bottle of Greek white wine that happened to be handy, and it worked amazingly well.