The rosé from Domaine Clos des Mourres was chilling, the fire in the grill was flaming outside, friends were walking in the front door. Me? I was cutting up a rabbit and wrapping each piece in bacon, in preparation for putting it over that hot fire outside. The evening was warm and close, the sky a jumble of storm clouds which broke, releasing a cool, hard rain that erased the heat. We quickly shifted the grill under shelter, and proceeded to our appetizers of aioli with crisp vegetables, and sauteed rabbit liver seasoned with piment d’Espelette and fleur de sel.
I serve rabbit every chance I get, because it’s a meat for all seasons and all tastes. It can be delicate and sophisticated or hearty and rustic, as it would be this evening. No matter how it’s prepared, it cooks quickly, easily and ends up tasting like a dream.
For this recipe, I simple seasoned the rabbit with salt and pepper, and let the bacon and the smoke do the rest. I served it with braised new potatoes, broccoli, and peas fresh from the farm. With a gutsy Bergerac from Château Les Hauts de Caillevel, it made a perfect, early summer meal.
Grilled Rabbit with Bacon
Try to find rabbit; if you cannot, grill chicken this way, adding about 10 minutes to the cooking time.
One 3-1/2 pound (1.75kg) rabbit, cut in serving pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound (250g) slab bacon, sliced
1. Remove the rabbit from the refrigerator at least one hour before you plan to cook it.
2. Build a small fire in a grill.
3. Season each piece with salt and pepper. Wrap each piece with at least one strip of bacon, and more if you’ve got more, then tie the bacon onto each piece of rabbit.
4. When the coals are glowing and very hot, put the rabbit on the grill and cover it, leaving vents for air circulation. Cook until the rabbit is golden, 8 to 10 minutes, then turn the rabbit, cover the grill and cook for 8 to 10 more minutes, until the rabbit is golden on both sides. Continue cooking, shifting the rabbit around on the grill if necessary so it cooks evenly, until it is cooked through, an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the grill and serve.
4 to 6 servings