Rabbit: try it, you'll like it
Some people are squeamish about certain foods. Having raised children, I get it when it comes to kids, but not so much with adults. It's time to dump those preconceived, unsubstantiated notions and try something new and tasty. Get past the animal's sweet face. Cows are cute, too, but we eat beef with abandon.
For Chinese New Year, I came up with a menu using rabbit. First because it's the Year of the Rabbit, second because it's prevalent in Sichuan cooking and third and most importantly, rabbit is delicious. The Italians and the French know this as do the Spaniards, but even in the U.S., rabbit regularly appears only on fine dining menus, which is unfortunate. Rabbit is well suited for grilling, braising, smoking and roasting.
People liken rabbit to chicken, probably because that's the closest comparison to a white meat. Rabbit is versatile, tender, sweet and unlike a lot of less prevalent meats such as deer or elk, it's not gamey. It's also low in fat.
Starting February 2 when our Chinese New Year celebration begins, you'll have five days to try my three rabbit dishes. First, there's tea smoked rabbit lettuce wraps - minced rabbit lightly smoked and braised and served with lettuce leaves for wrapping and and hoisin sauce for a dollop of extra flavor.
For the second special, I'm pairing crab wonton that we make ourselves with barbecue rabbit. The crab dumplings are served alongside the sliced rabbit with a hoisin glaze, noodles in a natural broth.
Of course I have to offer a hot and spicy dish, too. Long ilfe noodles will be featured with Sichuan rabbit and chive Blossoms. The rabbit will be wok seared and tossed with chive blossoms, fiery Sichuan sauce, roasted cashews, and of course, noodles.
I hope you'll try a rabbit special during the New Year - approach it with an open mind eager to try something delicious and you won't be disappointed. If you do, I'll promise that when it's the Year of the Horse, I won't feature that meat in any specials.
As always, let me know what you think.