A change of pace for rabbit
Back in action!! So, I acquired myself a bunch of different eggplants, and just could not come up with any ideas of what to do with them! Kermit eggplants, rosa bianca eggplants, globe eggplants, you name it. I took myself to the market to see if I could garner any more inspiration for a dish to make, and that's when I saw the game changer - rabbit saddle! Definitely wasn't initially on my radar to be combined with eggplant, but figured I could come up with something fun and exciting....and this dish is exactly that! Visually, it looks great, but most importantly, the taste is definitely on point. All of the components result in an awesome dish from start to finish - so find yourself some rabbit saddle and get to work!
Curry-Dusted Rabbit Saddle, Cardamom Yogurt, Eggplant
4 rabbit saddles
Fresh ground pepper
Mild curry powder
1 t minced garlic
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 t cardamom extract
1 large purple eggplant
1 small eggplant (I used Rosa Bianca)
1 orange, for zesting
1/3 c dry white wine
1/2 c chicken stock
First, start out by making some eggplant chips and the eggplant puree. Preheat the oven to 250F. Take the small eggplant and thinly slice it on a mandolin - about 1/8 inch thick. Arrange the eggplant slices flat on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with a little salt. Allow the eggplant to cook until it gets super crispy, about 45 minutes.
For the puree, raise the heat of the oven to 400F. Cut the eggplant in half, and score the interior with a sharp knife. Drizzle with a fair amount of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and lay it cut side down on a baking sheet. Cook the eggplant until the inside is super mushy, about an hour. It's done when a knife can be inserted easily through the flesh. Scoop out the flesh and place it into another bowl - either use a fork to crush up the eggplant, or a mortar and pestle to get it to a smoother consistency. Zest the orange into the eggplant, and season with salt and pepper.
While the eggplant for the puree is cooking, you can prep the yogurt as well as the rabbit. In a small bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt and cardamom extract. You could also use toasted, ground cardamom - about the same amount - if you can't find any extract. Set aside.
For the rabbit, lightly salt all sides, then rub each saddle with curry powder. Use a decent amount, because you want to create a nice crust on the saddle. Heat up a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Swirl in a bit of olive oil into the pan, and when it's shimmering place the rabbit saddles in. Sear all around until you achieve a nice golden crust, about 7 minutes. Remove the rabbit from the pan and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Once you're ready to plate, slice each saddle into about 5-6 slices. Make a quick pan sauce as well - toss in the garlic and cook until golden. Deglaze the pan with dry white wine, scraping the bottom to pick up any rabbit bits. Next, stir in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, and allow to reduce down for a few minutes until thick.
To plate, spoon a bit of the pan sauce on each plate, and drizzle with the Greek yogurt. Spoon a bit of the eggplant puree on each plate, and top with a few eggplant chips. Next, place the rabbit saddle pieces atop of the pan sauce and yogurt. Eat all together and enjoy!
This is definitely a fun dish to cook, and has a great flavor combination also! It's a pretty standard Middle Eastern combo, but the preparation of all the items lends to a subtle spice combination as opposed to being aggressive, which a lot of recipes that use these flavors results in. The rabbit is super tender, and pairs stunningly with the eggplant and cardamom yogurt. Overall, it's a fun dish in terms of textural variety, flavors, and visual pieces. Absolutely delicious!