In the spring, watch for fried rabbit to appear on the menus at many high-end restaurants. It’s a chef’s favorite, and no wonder. I call this dish a delicacy because there is a certain fineness of texture, quality, and flavor in this meat that cannot be found in any other.
Rabbit is also very nutritious. During World War II, the government encouraged the raising of rabbits to offset the red meat shortage. More than the benefit of offsetting the shortage or red meat, the rabbit gave the public more protein per serving than beef or chicken and more iron.
Those of you on a low-fat diet, rabbit is the choice for you! It only contains 173 calories per serving.
Rabbits, wild or farm raised, do not seem to have a gamey flavor. The young rabbits are particularly mild with tender succulent meat. The older the rabbit becomes, the darker the meat and the stronger the flavor becomes as well.
In fine restaurants, chefs will use the young rabbit meat as they would use chicken meat and the older rabbit meat as if it were beef.
Rabbit pairs beautifully with something sweet. Many restaurants will serve sweet peas, carrots, or sweet potatoes with rabbit to add that sweetness to the dish. My favorite way to serve it is with my savory waffles with maple syrup.
This dish is at least three of my children’s absolute favorite meal. They hunt rabbits particularly for this meal. You will understand once you try it.
If you don’t want to hunt your own rabbit, you can find rabbit in most specialty health grocery stores such as Earthfare, and some Publix stores. They are in the freezer section.
Fried Rabbit and Sage Buttermilk Waffles
- 1 rabbit, quartered and deboned
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tablespoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3 cups of vegetable oil for frying Sage Buttermilk Waffles
Sage Buttermilk Waffles
- 1 ¾ Cups flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon sage
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 eggs
- 8 tablespoons butter melted
- Debone rabbit and soak in buttermilk overnight in a baking dish or zip top bag.
- Combine flour, paprika, salt and pepper in a shallow dish.
- Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and set aside.
- Remove rabbit and discard buttermilk. Season rabbit with a few shakes of Tabasco. Dredge rabbit in flour mixture.
- Pour oil in skillet to a depth of about ¾ inch. Oil should reach 350 degrees. Fry the rabbit in batches about 5 minutes on one side then turn and fry for 3-4 minutes on the other side. Move the rabbit to the wire rack on the cookie sheet and let rest. To keep warm while making the waffles place in a 200- degree oven. Serve with Sage Waffles, and Maple syrup.
Sage Buttermilk Waffles
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt.
- In another medium-sized bowl, whisk buttermilk, sage, mustard, and eggs.
- Add wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk melted butter into mixture.
- Heat an oiled waffle iron and pour batter onto the griddle. Cook until crisped and golden brown. You will know it is ready when steam stops releasing from your waffle iron. Transfer the waffles to a serving plate and repeat with remaining batter. To keep waffles warm, place them in a 200 degree oven until ready to use.