This is an original dish that I created based on what I had in my fridge and pantry. Succulent morsels of rabbit with a crispy crust are served atop a flavorful and healthy lentil and corn salad with tomatoes and red onions. For the crust on the rabbit I used cornmeal to echo the corn in the salad. The rabbit is served hot, the lentil salad at room temperature. It makes for a nice contrast between flavors, temperatures and textures. And it is low in fat and high in protein and fibers. But most importantly, it is delicious.To serve rabbit this way, a sous-vide is a great help to get it tender and keep it juicy. You could substitute the rabbit with chicken, which is easier to obtain and easier to cook. But not as delicious. Here’s what I did…
For 2 servings as a main course
2 rabbit legs, about 450 grams (1 lb)
120 grams (2/3 cup) lentils, preferably du Puy
2 cobs corn
50 grams (1/3 cup) minced red onion
100 grams (1/2 cup) seeded and diced tomato
1 Tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Tbsp good quality white wine vinegar
4 Tbsp (clarified) butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
125 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
1 clove garlic
1 sprig fresh thyme
Season the rabbit legs with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Vacuum seal them individually.
Cook them sous-vide for 1 hour at 68C/154F.
Meanwhile, rinse 120 grams (2/3 cups) of lentils in cold water. There is no need to soak them.
Put the lentils in a saucepan and cover them with ample water. Do not add salt.
Add a garlic clove and a sprig of fresh thyme.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to keep the water boiling gently.
Cover and cook until the lentils are tender but firm to the bite, about 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, shave the corn kernels off 2 cobs. Melt a tablespoon of (clarified) butter in a frying pan and add the corn kernels. Stir over high heat for a couple of minutes, until the corn is coated with the butter.
Add 125 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the corn is tender but firm to the bite. Turn off the heat and allow the corn to cool off to room temperature.
Start tasting whether the lentils are cooked to your liking after 25 minutes.
When the lentils are cooked, drain them and discard the garlic and thyme. Allow the lentils to cool to room temperature.
When the lentils and corn have cooled off, combine them in a large bowl together with 50 grams of minced red onion, 100 grams of seeded and diced tomato, and a tablespoon of minced parsley.
Add a tablespoon of good quality extra virgin olive oil…
…and half a tablespoon of good quality white wine vinegar. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Stir to mix. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Take the rabbit legs out of the sous-vide after one hour.
Cut the meat off the bones (the meat will not fall off the bone because we’d like to keep it juicy). Try to do this in larger pieces, but there will be some smaller pieces as well.
Toss the meat with coarse cornmeal.
Heat 3 tablespoons clarified butter in a non-stick frying pan and brown the corn-coated rabbit pieces in batches.
I browned the small pieces first, then the larger pieces.
Divide the lentil salad onto two plates, and serve the rabbit on top.
Penne with cavolo nero and parmigiano is not a classic Italian dish, but something I’ve created myself in the spirit of Italian cooking: a limited number of ingredients, a simple preparation, and a very tasty dish.