Sauteed Rabbit Loin with Braised Fennel and Balsamic Vinegar
- 4 boneless rabbit loins with flap intact
- 1 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 10 black peppercorns
- 4 tablespoons pure olive oil
- 1 large bulb fennel (about 1 pound) core removed and sliced into 1/4-inch batonettes
- 1 medium Spanish onion
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 cup basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 2 slices day old bread
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 cup parsley sprigs
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup cooked and chopped spinach
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Rinse and pat dry rabbit loins. In a mixing bowl, stir together cold water, vinegar, salt and peppercorns. Place rabbit loins in liquid and allow to stand 1 hour. Remove rabbit from brine and pat dry.
In a 12- to 14-inch heavy bottomed saute pan, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil until smoking. Season rabbit pieces with salt and pepper and saute until golden brown on both sides, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove rabbit pieces and set aside. Add fennel, onion and fennel seeds and cook until soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add tomato sauce, wine and balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Place rabbit pieces in pan and simmer 15 minutes uncovered.
Meanwhile, make salsa verde. Soak bread in white wine vinegar about 2 minutes. Remove bread from vinegar and squeeze dry. Place in food processor with parsley, capers, garlic, spinach, thyme, fennel fronds and extra virgin olive oil. Blend 30 seconds until smooth and set aside. Remove cooked rabbit pieces from sauce and arrange on a serving platter. Top with fennel sauce mixture, drizzle with salsa verde and serve immediately.
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