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.
I really don’t know why Americans don’t eat rabbit. There’s definitely a factor of “oh, it’s too CUTE to eat” which is part of why we don’t eat much lamb as a nation, either. But it’s really hard to find rabbit in grocery stores – we asked once at our usual market and I think they could special order it frozen for us if we gave them enough notice, and it cost an arm and a leg. Weird.
So when a friend of ours, a local farmer, asked if we wanted to take one of the rabbits she’s been shooting to keep them out of her vegetables, we said Definitely. Even before we received the rabbit, I started looking through my British and Mediterranean cookbooks for possible recipes. We haven’t had much experience cooking wild game of any sort, so I wanted to get a feel for the most common treatments. Rabbit isn’t a strongly gamey meat, but it’s still liable to be stronger-tasting than, say, a farm-raised chicken, and the meat is very dense and low in fat, so it requires some care in preparation.