The first time I made lapin à la minute, at a friend’s house, it was very good. My friend liked it so much, in fact, that he invited me back to cook it again—this time for some guests, among them Michel Richard. At the time, Richard was merely the best pastry chef in Los Angeles. Today, at his own Citrus in Hollywood, he is quite possibly the best chef, period. In any case, and for whatever reason, when I made the dish for Richard, et al., it was a disaster. I burned the shallots, scorched the rabbit, and filled the kitchen (and probably the dining room) with the unpleasant odor of overheated oil—with Richard looking on the whole time. He was polite enough not to comment as he saw what I was doing. He was even polite enough to eat some of the rabbit. We both survived the experience. The first time I dined at Citrus, though, I remembered the evening, and felt very silly. The next day, I made lapin à la minute at home until I got it right again.
In a large cast iron skillet or other deep and heavy pan, heat butter and olive oil until the mixture starts to brown.
Meanwhile, salt and pepper all surfaces of rabbit generously. Sauté rabbit pieces quickly in the hot butter and oil, turning occasionally with tongs, until golden brown on all sides. Reduce heat to medium and stir in shallots. Cook for about 5 minutes more, continuing to turn rabbit pieces.
Deglaze pan over high heat with wine, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until liquid reduces to a thick, concentrated sauce. Stir in lemon juice, then serve rabbit with parsley sprinkled on top.
© 1992 Colman Andrews. All rights reserved.