• 1 large rabbit quartered*
• one-half bottle (about two cups) dry white wine
• a sprig of fresh laurel (bay leaves)
• a sprig of fresh rosemary
• a few small leaves of sage
• 100 grams of shelled toasted blanched ("white") almonds
• 50 grams of pine nuts
• 50 grams white or golden raisins
• 1 white or yellow onion
• 2 anchovy fillets (may be canned)
• 50 grams capers
• 2 tablespoons low-alcohol almond extract (the kind used in baking)
• extra virgin olive oil
• white pepper
*A skinless quartered chicken may be substituted if your sensibilities don’t favor eating rabbit
Once favored among Sicily’s aristocratic hunting set, roasted rabbit isn’t as popular as it once was. Then again, neither is hunting, but today’s farm-raised rabbit is no match for wild rabbit or hare, which has the unique taste of wild game. In Sicily, some rabbit or poultry is fed a traditional diet rather than commercial feed, and this "raspante" meat has a slightly gamier flavour.
1• If it’s not already quartered, cut the rabbit (or chicken) into pieces.
2• Remove the herb leaves from the stalks.
3• If you’re preparing this recipe with rabbit, marinade the meat in the white wine with the rosemary, bay leaves and sage for 3-4 hours before cooking.
4• Then chop the onion into thin slices and place it in the bottom of a roasting pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the rabbit and other ingredients, including the wine and herbs.
5• Roast the rabbit in the oven for an hour or more as you would roast a chicken, occasionally basting it with the wine and oil mixture.
6• The rabbit should be covered during half of the baking time, and turned over when it is about half cooked.
7• Add wine if necessary if the liquid sauce seems as if it will evaporate.
8• Meanwhile, chop the almonds and pine nuts into a fine granular consistency, almost powdery if possible.
9• Chop the anchovy fillets into a paste.
10• In a mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the almond-pine nut mixture with the anchovy paste, almond extract, the juice of one lemon, the capers and raisins.
11• When the rabbit is completely cooked, remove it from the oven and quickly stir in this combined paste before serving, adding a little olive oil and water if it seems too liquid. You may wish to remove the bay leaves.
12• Salt and pepper lightly to taste.
13• Italian arborio rice, prepared as risotto, makes a nice complement to Rabbit Amandine.