Tuna and rabbit, together? Why this odd name?
A legend says that in 19th century the rules about fasting were particularly strict, and the friars in a convent of Avigliana, near Turin, decided to circumvent them by baptising their chickens and rabbits and calling them ‘tuna’ in order to eat them without sinning.
In spite of its country origin and simplicity, it is an elegant and delicious dish, perfect in every season, but particularly appreciated in summer. It was created in Piedmont, in a time where even the most modest families had barnyard animals and because it was necessary to find a way to preserve their meat, given there were no freezers, they started imitating the techniques used for tuna.
Rabbit meat is white and light, perfect for kids and all those who want or need to be careful with red meats. It is healthy and delicious – far from the sadness of eating kale or other depressing vegetables.
- 1 (3-lb) rabbit carcass, cleaned with no head
- 4-5 stems of fresh sage
- 2 bulbs of garlic
- sea salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1 bottle delicate olive oil, possibly Ligurian (extra virgin)
For the broth
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 cup light dry white wine
- 70 fl. oz. water
- 4-5 black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 4-5 fresh basil leaves
- 1 stem fresh thyme
- 3 stems of fresh parsley
- 2 cloves
Prepare an aromatic broth with basil, peppercorns, celery, onion, carrot, rosemary, bay leaves, cloves, salt, parsley, wine, and water. Let it simmer for 30 minutes and then carefully place the rabbit in the broth.
Cook for 90 minutes, letting it simmer until the meat comes off the bones.
In the meanwhile, wash and dry the sage leaves and clean the cloves of garlic.
Take the rabbit out of the broth and when it is at room temperature bone it by hand, removing the smallest bones and gristle (cartilage). As you do it, season the meat with marine salt and freshly grounded black pepper.
Prepare 4 small jars or a container, pour a bit of oil, add some meat, a clove of garlic, a couple of sage leaves, more oil, meat, garlic and sage and so on until the jar is full. Finish the last layer with garlic, sage and ¼ inch oil.
Wait 2 days before serving it so the flavours have the time to blend beautifully.
Serving suggestion: I highly recommend steaming 3-4 potatoes, slicing and seasoning them, and serving rabbit pieces on them with its aromatic oil.
The jars can be preserved like this for a week, or frozen.
Filter the broth and freeze in 2-3 jars, it is excellent for rabbit stews or rabbit paella.