Rabbit, nothing more Maltese a dish than that! Plonked on the BBQ for easy cooking on a day that saw a ‘feels-like’ factor of 40 degree heat on my scale.
The national dish served up for summer in an all-in-one meal. Just marinate the meat along with a medley of traffic light summer vegetables for two hours plus, then grab a beer and BBQ.
Little need for words as the photos do the talking. Apart from a bit of effort cleaning the BBQ early next morning in the cool of 6am, this is lazy holiday food par excellent. And a very sociable way to cook. I get to enjoy the garden, chat to the gathered crowd, and fight off the cat whose whiffer detects a BBQ starting up before you can say ‘rabbit out of the fridge’. The smoke helps keep mozzies at bay. Ice cold beer in hand, this is a staycation summer at it’s best.
Why the part French title? It makes plain old rabbit sound a bit sexier, and I like to think that I’ve been hiking over the garrigue gathering wild herbs, which is simply not do-able in what are now our hottest days of the year. The herbs – sage, bay, rosemary, thyme and fennel – are all from my garden, which is increasingly looking like dried out garrigue anyway! The great thing about this BBQ meal is that you don’t need to pfaff around with making bastes, rubs or complicated accompaniments; the full-on BBQ flavour is all from the herbs.
As we enter the peak holiday weeks with Malta’s summer shutdown fortnight approaching, my brain is quite cooked too from the heat and humidity. It’s all too fatiguing to do more than BBQ now, and as late as possible in the evening at that. Ice cold beer supply to gather in for tonight’s cook up. I’m convincing myself that I can just burn off the debris rather than scrub and scrape the grill. Life’s too hot to clean a BBQ each day!
All images © Liz Ayling 2013
- Rabbit, jointedprint button transparent
- 4 or more slim, Italian-style sausages (or ones of choice)
- 50ml extra virgin olive oil
- 20ml red wine vinegar
- 20ml balsamic vinegar
- 1 or 2 aubergines, sliced thickly lengthways
- 3 large peppers – a mix of colours, deseeded and quartered lengthways
- 3 large chili peppers, whole
- 3 red onions, sliced in quarters, skin on
- 4 garlic cloves, skin on
- small potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled, sliced thickly lengthways
- bunches of herbs – sage, bay, thyme, fennel, rosemary
- fresh ground black pepper and sea salt
- Wash and pat dry rabbit joints, season and lay in a large, deep baking tray.
- Prep all vegetables and add to the rabbit joints.
- Rip up some herbs, and leave others whole as sprigs and add to meat & veg.
- Mix up the olive oil and vinegars, season and pour over the meat & veg. Using your hands, mix in the marinade well. Cover and leave in fridge for a minimum of two hours before cooking.
- Fire up your BBQ (mine is gas), or use a griddle pan on the hob to cook the rabbit and veg. If using charcoal, do light the BBQ at least half an hour before cooking to get embers rather than smoke and flames. I used a the flat plate of the BBQ for the veg and the open grill for the meat. The rabbit takes around 15-20 minutes on a medium heat, turning regularly to ensure it doesn’t char too much. Cook in batches if need be and keep warm in the oven covered or on the flat plate switched off, covered with foil.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and some more fresh herbs ripped up. If you make plenty of grilled vegetables you won’t need to serve with salads. Perhaps a crusty loaf to soak up any juices.