26 April 2011

Grilled rabbit with basil oil

In 1994, I was in college, living in the dorm of the Faculté St. Jean at the University of Alberta. It was a fantastic place to live, a converted 150-year old monastery. Two kitchens shared by 100 or so students.

I decided (with a friend of mine) that a fun way to spend Easter would be to have rabbit. Cooking the Easter Bunny, so-to-speak. This has turned into a hilarious tradition. Something the Dude household does almost every year (I confess, in the last 15 years, I've missed one or two). Most years, though, we have Easter bunny for dinner. Like last year, when we served Chocolate Easter bunny.

This year I wanted to serve something that was more true to the ingredient. More fresh. And something that showed off the flavour of the rabbit more than I had in previous years.

I chose a grilled rabbit recipe, adapted from this one:
4 legs of rabbit, top bone of the thigh removed (ask your butcher to do this)
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 very ripe sweet heirloom tomatoes, sliced into rounds
1 small bunch basil
It's hard enough to find rabbit, much less to find rabbit legs. So, purchase your rabbits.


Remove the rabbit legs. Apply a cleaver to the joint at the division between the spine and the leg. Save the remaining rabbit carcass for other stuff (posts coming soon).

Rabbit legs

Warm the rabbit legs to room temperature, about one hour.

Meanwhile, prep the sauce:
3 large bunches of basil
1 clove of garlic, peeled
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Put the basil leaves into your food processor.

Basil oil

Add the garlic and sea salt. Grind more.

Basil oil

Drizzle in the oil, while blending. I like the basil oil as a thick gamish (close to a pesto). If you prefer it runnier, add more oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Basil oil

Now, back to the rabbit.

Heat up a grill. Hot. Really, really hot. Really hot. Can you make it hotter? No? Now it's nearly hot enough. Make it hotter.


Season your warmed rabbit legs with a coarse salt and pepper. Put those seasoned legs on the hot, hot grill.

Grilling the rabbit legs

Cook five minutes on that side, until good and brown on one side. Flip.

Grilling the rabbit legs

Cook another eight minutes, until done. While finishing the rabbit, slice the tomatoes and put two slices on each plate. Slather on some basil oil and salt.

Rest the rabbit legs a couple minutes, then place on top of the tomatoes. Add a little more basil oil on top and a few basil leaves and serve.

Served, plated bunny leg

You know how you sometimes hear people saying that they want the preparation of a food to be "true to the ingredient"? This is one of those preparations. It's simple, you can taste the uniqueness of the rabbit meat, but it has some tasty additions. Eat this today. It's delicious.

Serve with:

Served with




Eric Kiefer said...

This looks lovely, and I can't wait to make it! The only thing that was interesting is you say rabbit is hard to find? They're everywhere! You just need to be a good shot.

Bbq Dude said...

Indeed. I meant that they are difficult to find in stores… I should certainly like to take up rabbit hunting, as soon as Mrs. Dude allows it.

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