I love celery, especially the hearts and leaves. The heart, the inner three to five stalks, brings great texture and flavor to all sorts of salads, without the stringiness or bitterness of the outer ribs (these do their job best in stocks and braises and, of course, soffritto—the requisite base of sauteed diced vegetables of Italian ragùs and stews). In this warm rabbit salad, herbed roasted rabbit is topped with a cool, crunchy celery and bread salad. Use good-sized herb sprigs, or add a couple more if yours are small.–Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox
Roasted Rabbit with Shaved Celery and Fried Bread Salad Recipe
Hands-On Time: | Total Time: | Makes 4
- 3 large fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves only
- 3 large fresh savory sprigs, leaves only
- 3 large fresh sage sprigs, leaves only
- 4 garlic cloves
- One 2 3/4- to 3-pound rabbit
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying
- 4 ounces country bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
- 1 celery heart, and as many celery leaves as you want
- 1 tablespoon good red wine vinegar, such as Volpaia
- Fine sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
- 1. Finely chop the herbs together with garlic. Cut the rabbit in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 8 pieces. Toss with the herb mixture and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a bowl, then transfer to a baking dish, scraping the oil and herb mixture over top.
- 2. Let the rabbit marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for as long as overnight. If marinating overnight, bring the rabbit to room temperature before roasting.
- 3. Heat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
- 4. Roast the rabbit until golden and cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes.
- 5. When the rabbit is close to being done, heat 1/2 inch of oil in a medium skillet over high heat until a bread cube dropped in turns golden. Remove the test cube, add the remaining cubes and fry, stirring with a slotted spoon, until golden, about 30 seconds. Drain on paper towels.
- 6. Thinly slice the celery heart and toss with the celery leaves, the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the bread cubes and toss to combine. Serve the roasted rabbit salad warm.
Roasted Rabbit with Shaved Celery and Fried Bread Salad Recipe © 2008 Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox. Photo © 2008 Alan Richardson. All rights reserved.