2kg saddle of young rabbit with liver
100g goose/duck fat
2 handfuls of mixed salad
200g white button mushrooms
1 very ripe tomato (150g)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp chopped chervil
8 asparagus spears
60g duck foie gras
2 slices black tuffle
Remove the gall from the centre of the rabbit's liver. Season the liver with salt and pepper and put it in a small saucepan with the lard over a slow heat for 15-20 minutes. Keep on one side on a plate.
Seperate the saddle, which is the part between the last rib and the tops of the hind legs. Remove the skin flaps from the sides and, using a very sharp knife, cut away the fine transparent membrane tha tcovers the pale flesh of the saddle. Season with salt and pepper and lay the saddle in the cocotte with 20g butter. Cover and cook for 20 minutes on a very slow heat, making certain that the meat remains pale and that the buter stays creamy-white. The rabbit is perfectly cooked when a trussing needle or skewer pushed into the flesh produces a bead of transparent colourless liquid.
While the rabbit cooks, you will have time to wash and dry the salads. Next plunge the tomato in boiling water for 2 minutes and then put it immediately under the cold tap so that it will be easy to peel. Cut it in half and press each half in the palm of your hand to squeeze out excess moisture and seeds. Chop coarsely. If you are using fresh asparagus cook it for 15 minutes. Wash the mushroom and slice them finely.
Slice the rabbit liver very finely into long slices and keep hot. Slice the saddle (parallel with the backbone) in long, thin pieces, and keep hot. Take two warm soup plates and put a layer of well-dried salad in each, followed by a layer of fine mushroom slices. Arrand slices of the rabbit liver over one side of each salad and slice of saddle on the other. Place a little posy of chopped tomato in the centre of each. If you are using asparagus, foie gras or truffles arrange them in the middle in the same way. Keep the salads warm while you prepare the dressing.
Put the cocotte with its cooking juices back on the heat. Add 3 tbsp of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and add 50g unsalted butter whisking vigorously to make an emulsion of water and butter. Remove the cocotte from the heat and stir in a tablespoon of chopped chervil. Sprinkle the salads lightly with salt and pepper, then divide the hot butter evenly between them. Serve immediately.
1kg live freshwater crayfish or Dublin Bay Prawns
1 medium carrot
1 white part of a leek
1 celery stick
500ml dry white whine
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 sprigs parsley
1 small bunch of chervil
8 tarragon leaves
A muslin bag, tied up containing half a bayleaf, a stalk of diced fennel, 10 white peppercorns, a sprig of thyme
Coarse salt and pepper
Preparing the nage and crayfish
Put the thinly-slices carrot, leek, celery, shallots and onion in a saucepan with 1 tsp butter and 4 tbsp water. Salt lightly, and cook over a very low heat, covered, for 20 minutes. Then add 400ml white wine and the bag of herbs, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Watch the seasoning and the cooking, time very carefully, as the vegetables should keep a trace of 'bite' to their texture. Remove the little parcel of herbs.
While the vegetables are cooking, bring 4 litres of water, seasoned with 2 tbsp of salt, to the boil and plunge in the crayfish. When the water has come back to the boil, cook for 4 minutes. Then lift out the crayfish with a slotted spoon and drain them in a colander. When they have cooled slightly, detatch the tails and shell them by pinching the carapace between your thumb and forefinger. Keep the flesh, together with two of the head-shells of one side.
Preparing the beurre blanc
Take a small saucepan with sloping sides and add to coarsely-chopped shallots, the remaining white wine and 3 tbsp of wine vinegar. Reduce over a brisk heat watching attentively until only 2 tbps of liquid are left. If you find you have over-done the reduction, stretch it with a little of the nage. Remove the pan from the heat and, little by little incorporate 110g butter, cut into large dice, whisking vigorously, until you have a sauce the consistency of cream. Season with salt and pepper. If the sauce curdles, because you have overdone the heat or added the butter too quickly, you can put two tbsp of nage into another saucepan and pour the curdled sauce in to it in a trickly, whisking all the time. You can keep the sauce hot by putting a folded newspaper in the bottom of a large saucepan, placing the pan containing the beurre blanc on top of the paper, and putting the whole thing on the edge of the hot-plate where it will keep warm whitout over heating.
Finishing the dish
Bring the nage to the boil and add the crayfish tails, the beurre blanc and the parsley and chervil sprigs and tarragon leaves. Bring back to the boil for an instant, taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
Divide the soup between two bowls or plates and place a crayfish head stading upright in the middle of each.
Stay tuned for the next #ThrowBackThursday, and another retro dish...