While Cart and I were in Bevagna some years back, we were looking at some cute bunnies in cages during a medieval fair. I don’t remember how the conversation started, but Cart explained to me that they will probably be cooked in the near future.
At first I was a little shocked at the nonchalance, how could anyone eat such a cute creature? But rabbits are mostly seen as food for Italians rather than pets. In fact, Italians wouldn’t even bat an eye if they saw horse meat in their menu.
Despite it all, I’ve always been curious to eat rabbit meat. I’ve eaten a lot of interesting things in my lifetime like snails and turtle eggs. While there are people who are against eating bunnies, I am open enough to try it at least once, just to see if I’d like it.
I’ve actually tried rabbit burger before while I was on a convoy with the Vespa Club many years back, but to be honest, it tasted just like chicken, so I am not counting that.
So by chance this morning I was at the doctor’s which was quite near the market at Piazza San Giovanni di Dio where there was a halal butcher. Usually their rabbits would be sold out by the time I arrive, but they had some for sale then. So I jumped at the chance to get it. Finally! I get to try it!
It was quite expensive though, at about 12 euro for a whole rabbit. But there was enough for a good 3 to 4 portions.
As soon as I reached home, I was so excited to start cooking lunch, starting up with my sofritto intending to make alla cacciatora with the rabbit. What I didn’t expect though, was when I opened the pack, apart from the chopped up meat, was a whole head – cold blue eyes staring back at me. I was so stunned, I just looked at it for a whole minute.
I can deal with de-scaling a fish. I can deal with cutting a whole chicken, heads and all. But seeing the rabbit head in my face was an unexpected experience that I’ve never ever had before.
It was challenging to think at that point of time, but I knew I didn’t want to throw it away, so I put it in the freezer so that I can think calmly about what to do with it later. Maybe a stew? (A quick search online, and I found a recipe for rabbit head pasta!) Well, waste not, want not.
In the end, I managed to cook my coniglio alla cacciatora and have a drama free lunch. It tasted quite good by the way, although I think compared to chicken, rabbit meat tastes significantly lighter and softer.
So I guess I can cross out rabbit meat now, in my list of things to eat. Next I want to try to eat reindeer.