This is adapted from a recipe I found in an La Cucina Delle Regioni D’Italia by Antonella Santolini.
I love the way this incorporates the rabbit liver back into the dish. (Usually, I fry it off separately and serve it on toast.) It has a very gentle flavour, more subtle than chicken liver, and just as delicious.
And the whole thing goes very well with Sautéed Radishes with Their Tops and Some Peas.
1 large rabbit — we want 1.5-2kg here. Get your butcher to joint it into 8 and make sure you get the liver
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large head of garlic, unpeeled and halved through the centre (+ 1 clove, peeled and slivered for the liver)
2 large stalks of rosemary
1 large bunch of fresh basil
250ml white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil (+ 2 teaspoons for the liver)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pat the rabbit dry, keeping the liver separate. Season the pieces well.
Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan or casserole dish and add the rabbit, a few pieces at a time, and brown them nicely. Remove from the pan and continue until all the rabbit pieces are golden.
Reintroduce the rabbit to the pan with the garlic, rosemary, half of the basil and the wine. Bring to the boil. Turn down to the LOWEST flame and let it simmer gently, uncovered, for about one hour or until the rabbit is tender. If it starts to look dry at any point, just add a little water.
When it’s tender and cooked through, turn the heat right up and let it bubble hard for a minute.
Whilst it’s bubbling, heat the 2 teaspoons of oil in a small frying pan and season the liver with salt and pepper. Add the slivered garlic to the hot oil until it is just fragrant — a couple of seconds — and then add the liver, cooking it for a minute each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the rest of the basil to the rabbit, stir through, and serve with thin slices of the liver to garnish. And make sure there’s loads of crusty bread to soak up the heavenly sauce.