Illinois Rabbit with Wilted Arugula, Goat Cheese, Nuts and Pan Juices

This recipe is courtesy Charlie Trotter, and is perhaps quite a bit fussier than most people want, but if you desire something really fancy and wonderful, read on. Also, rabbit is FANTASTIC, so if you have never tried it, please do so. Mild, succulent, low-fat and really choice. Absolutely not gamey. We love it. PS: the quenelles do not need to be cooked. You can simply spread them over each bite of rabbit, like a savory creamy topping. Yum!

Prep Time:

50 min

Cook Time:

15 min


4 servings



  • 2 teaspoons grapeseed or olive oil
  • 4 rabbit loins
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Wilted Arugula Salad, recipe follows
  • Goat Cheese Quenelles, recipe follows
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped, for garnish


In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Season the rabbit loins with salt and pepper, and add the rabbit loins to the pan. Saute the rabbit to desired degree of doneness. With tongs, remove the meat from the heat and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Let the meat rest for 90 seconds before thinly slicing on the bias.


Evenly divide the Wilted Arugula Salad among 4 dinner plates, arranging it in the center of each plate. Place the rabbit slices in a pinwheel manner over the salad. Place a goat cheese quenelle on each plate, and sprinkle with the chopped walnuts. Top with freshly ground black pepper and spoon the reserved cooking juices around the plate.


Wilted Arugula Salad:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1/8 teaspoon minced garlic

1 Japanese eggplant, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons white wine

1 Bosc pear, julienned

1/4 cup roasted yellow onion, julienned

2 cups arugula

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute for 1 minute. Add the eggplant and cook for 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, wine, pear, roasted onion and arugula. Cook for 2 more minutes, or until the arugula is just wilted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Reserve any cooking juices that remain in the pan.

Goat Cheese Quenelles:

1/2 cup goat cheese

1 tablespoon minced shallots

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1 tablespoon chopped chervil or other mild fresh herb

3 tablespoons heavy cream

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients with a wooden spoon. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Using a small metal spoon and the palm of your hand, form quenelles (little oblong dumplings) of the goat cheese mixture.


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