Monday, March 22, 2010
Prosciutto-Wrapped Loin of Rabbit
I like this dish so much that I wanted to share it with you. I love the late winter flavors and the presentation as well. What you see here is prosciutto-wrapped rabbit loin stuffed with Chinese broccoli leaves and goat cheese, sitting in a pool of Fairy Tale squash cream, surrounded by black trumpet mushrooms.
Start by removing both loins from a rabbit (one rabbit serves one person) and cleaning them of silverskin and sinew. When you remove the loins, remove all the meat from the hip to the shoulder blades in a single piece. The best way that I have found to remove the silverskin is to start a small flap of the silverskin at the shoulder end (the pointed end), then flip the loin over, silverskin down on the cutting board, and skin it like you would a fish. Butterfly each loin about two thirds of the way from the hip end to the shoulder end as you see in this photo.
Next, cover each butterflied loin with plastic wrap and gently pound the flesh until it is even in thickness all over. These I have pounded to about 3/8" or 1/2cm in thickness. Then lay a piece of plastic wrap on your board and on top of that lay out enough prosciutto to completely wrap the rabbit loin. Then lay two rabbit loins on top of the prosciutto as you see here, close to one edge of the prosciutto and so that the rabbit forms a long rectangle. Season the rabbit with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, for each rabbit loin, blanch about eight Chinese broccoli leaves. I'm sure if you're contemplating doing this recipe that you know you can substitute any leafy green in this recipe: chard, spinach, rapini, etc. After blanching the leaves, dry them well (important for the next step) and remove any central stem with a sharp knife.
Lay the blanched and destemmed leaves on top of the rabbit. Fold the leaves as necessary to just cover the rabbit. Season the leaves with a little salt and pepper. Bring some fresh goat cheese to room temperature so that you can spread it. You can do this in the microwave, but you have to be really, really careful not to scorch the cheese. Stir a little salt and pepper (you could even use some herbs in the cheese were you so inclined) into the cheese. Then very gently spread the cheese on top of the broccoli leaves. It's probably best to drop small dollops of cheese in the center of the leaves and gently push it out to the edges with the back of a spoon. Go slowly and you'll get the hang of it in no time.
Using the film as an aid, start rolling the roulade from the side where the rabbit is closest to the edge of the prosciutto. Gently tighten the roll with your fingers as you go. Once you have rolled the rabbit in the prosciutto, refrigerate for a couple of hours to solidify the cheese so that it is easier to handle when you cook it later. This roulade can be cooked entirely on the stove top. No oven time is necessary. If you do not have a flat top or a griddle pan that is big enough to hold the rabbit loin, you can heat a half sheet tray on two burners and use that. Sear the prosciutto all the way around; this will take six or seven minutes. Remove the loin from the heat and let stand for five minutes to finish cooking, to rest, and so that the cheese resolidifies a little bit. Slice and plate. I have best results with a sharp serrated knife, second best results with my ultrasharp prosciutto knife.