What I had for dinner:
Today, the IRT was skipping my station on the downtown run, so I decided to go shopping at Zabar's and Fairway before switching back to the uptown train. I needed coffee anyway.
I have been reading recently about the beginning of the crayfish season in Finland in soc.culture.nordic, an occasion -like the similar one in Sweden that starts in 3 weeks- for inebriated consumption of massive amounts of cold crayfish and iced aquavit in bucolic surroundings.
(Most crayfish these days come frozen from Turkey or the US, but the Scandinavians still make believe, and have feasts at their summer houses, near a little brook or lake that used to yield crayfish.)
Unfortunately, there were no crayfish at Citarella, and nothing that struck my fancy in the fish department; however there were fresh rabbits in the meat store. That is something that I hadn't had in a long time. My ex-wife had had pet rabbits when she was a girl, and she was reluctant to eat Bunny. Oh well ...
The classic French rabbit stew makes use of a mustard sauce, of which I am not terribly fond so I wandered around Fairway to try to find something that would click. I finally decided on a citrusy sauce based on fresh limes.
The rabbit is cut in large pieces, like a chicken, and sautéed until nicely browned in a little vegetable oil. Four finely minced shallots and 6 sliced serrano peppers are then added, cooked for a couple of minutes, then 6 sliced cloves of garlic, 1 sliced carrot, the juice and the grated rind of 1 lime, and a cup of water are added at once. A tbsp of tomato sauce (or 1 tsp of purée), a tsp of Indonesian lemongrass (sereh), and 2 pinches of whole cardamom seeds complete the pot. The stew is cooked until the rabbit is tender, 15 min in a pressure cooker.
To go with that, I hesitated between -- and bought both -- sautéed endives and lettuce, or sweet potato. The salads won. The endives, sliced lengthwise, must be steamed for about 15 minutes, then they are sautéed in a wok with a tsp of the duck fat that had been saved from a few days ago. When the endives begin to turn golden, the well-washed whole leaves of a Boston lettuce are added, and cooked until completely wilted.
Count 1 endive and 1/2 lettuce per serving. A rabbit makes 3-4 servings.
The lychees are here! Time to grab the opportunity, the season does not last long.