2handfuls of mixed salads (radicchio trevisano, lamb’slettuce, curly endive, cos lettuce, escarole and, if you are in Provence, a mixture of wild herbs)
200g (7oz) white button mushrooms
1 very ripe tomato weighing 150g (5½oz)
1tablespoon chopped chervil
60g (2oz) duck foie gras
2slices of black truffle
1 small enamelled cast-iron cocotte large enough to hold the saddle
a very thin, very sharp, knife
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 very slow heat for 15–20 minutes. Keep on one side on a plate.
Separate 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 that covers the pale flesh of the saddle. Season with salt and pepper and lay the saddle in the cocotte with 20g (¾oz) butter. Cover and cook for 20 minutes on a very slow heat, making certain that the meat remains pale and that the butter 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 mushrooms 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. Arrange slices of the rabbit liver over one side of each salad and slices 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 3tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and add 50g (1¾oz) 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.
dry white wines, for instance dry Graves, Côtes du Rhône, Côtes de Provence