Black truffle purée and truffle gnocchi add earthy tones to this complicated dish of rabbit rack, kidneys and ballotine.
2 whole rabbits, jointed into saddle (bones removed) and trimmed rack, kidneys and livers reserved (ask your butcher to do this for you)
For the rabbit ballotine, trim any sinew off the saddle. Season with salt and pepper. Lay the blanched spinach leaves between the loins and lay the liver on top, then fold spinach over to cover. Roll the rabbit saddle up in the belly, trim the ends off and wrap tightly in the caul fat to make a ballotine. Then wrap in cling film and tie the ends so that no water can get in. Repeat with the remaining saddle of rabbit.
Gently poach in a temperature-controlled water-bath at 62C/144F for 15 minutes or until firm but springy.
Carefully remove the cling film. Heat a little olive oil in a pan and gently fry the ballotine until golden-brown all over. Set aside in a warm place to rest. Slice the ballotine when ready to serve.
For the rabbit rack and kidneys, heat some olive oil in a frying pan and pan-fry the rack until golden-brown. Then add the butter and baste until the meat is cooked to medium. Remove and set aside to rest for at least five minutes.
In the same frying pan, fry the kidneys for 30 seconds on each side.
For the rabbit sauce, fry the remaining bones in a large frying pan until golden-brown all over. Drain off most of the fat from the pan and set the rabbit bones aside.
In the same frying pan, cook the garlic, carrots and shallots until golden-brown. Add the spices and herbs and cook for a further two minutes. Add the wine and Madeira, and simmer until the volume of the liquid has reduced by half.
Return the rabbit bones to the pan, add the stock and bring to a simmer for 30 minutes, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface.
Pass the sauce through a sieve lined with muslin cloth, then return to a clean pan and reduce to a syrupy consistency.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 5.
For the truffle gnocchi, bake the potatoes for one hour on tray covered with rock salt. Allow the potatoes to cool completely, scoop out the flesh from the skins and mash well.
Mix the egg, egg yolk, parmesan, truffle oil and chopped black truffle together. Stir in the pasta flour and 500g/1lb 2oz of the mashed potato.
Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and just bring it together with your hands. Wrap in cling film and place into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
Roll out the gnocchi dough into a long thick sausage shape and cut into 1cm/½in pieces. Then place onto a floured baking tray, cover with a tea towel and set aside until ready to cook.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the gnocchi for 3-5 minutes, they should rise to the surface when done. Drain.
Add to a frying pan with some butter and fry until golden-brown to serve.
For the pea purée, in a medium saucepan gently fry the shallot in a little butter until softened. Add the mint leaves and 1.5 litres/2½ pints water and bring to the boil. Add the peas, cover and boil for one minute until tender.
Drain the peas, retaining some of the cooking water. Blend the peas with the cold butter until smooth, adding some of the cooking water to loosen if necessary. Pass a through a fine sieve and keep warm until serving.
For the black truffle purée, gently fry the shallot in some butter. Then add the mushrooms and truffle and cook until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated.
Add the thyme and Madeira and simmer until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. Add the truffle juice and cook until the volume of liquid has reduced by half.
Then add double cream and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat and blend with the cold butter until smooth. Pass a through fine sieve and keep warm until serving.
For the summer vegetables, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan. Add the radish flat side down and fry until lightly golden-brown.
To serve, place a tablespoon of pea purée to the side of the plate. Top with gnocchi and rest the rabbit rack on top. On the other side of the plate place the sliced ballotine. Sprinkle the summer vegetables around the plate. Dot the black truffle purée to the side. Drizzle with rabbit sauce. Garnish with pea shoots and julienne of black truffle.
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