WHB # 52, First Anniversary:Verbena Rabbit

I do not know what the rest of the world think or feel about eating rabbits, but for Italians and French that’s quite normal. I know, they are cute, nice and so soft (when alive, of course), but they also have a very peculiar taste, beside being healthy, and I like it so much…
My father in law used to breed rabbits (to sell to butchers) and they are really cute when they are little puppies, and maybe all this post may look absolutely brutal, but when food consumption is rooted in tradition, I think it should not be questioned but rather taken as it is… But you can use chicken for this recipe! Though even little chicks are cute…
Anyway, I didn’t want to get political or anything, I just wanted to introduce my last experiment, inspired and made uniquely in celebration of Kalyn and her Weekend Herb Blogging anniversary.
I thought how I could use, besides desert, one of my favourite herb: lemon verbena. My father in law (the same of the rabbits) made me a little plant from his and since then we have it on our balcony. It is a perennial shrub, happy with a lot of sun and water, extremely easy to grow: you just need to give it water!
We normally use it for herbal tea: we cut a little branch and infuse it in hot water. Delicious and lemony! I tried to use it for marinade and it’s just perfect, giving a nice lemony scent…
If I can, this year I will try to dry the remaining leaves before fall begins (in Italy it is still quite hot this year: around 25 °C today!)…

Serves 4

1 rabbit, already gutted and cut in 8 pieces
Plenty of lemon verbena branches
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Place the rabbit in a shallow dish greased with oil. Season it with salt and pepper and scatter over it lemon verbena. Let it rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Pre-heat the oven at the highest temperature and cook the rabbit for 20 –30 minutes, brushing it often with lemon verbena leaves.
Serve hot with some steamed vegetables.


  1. Saffron

    Interessante quest’erbetta! la voglio provare.
    per il coniglio non prometto nulla, ho avuto per anni una coniglietta per casa e proprio non ce la faccio!
    Belle foto.

  2. Kalyn

    Very interesting. I’ve eaten rabbit quite a bit because when I was a kid we raised them to eat. I remember liking it much more than chicken in those days. What a creative use of verbena,and the first vote for this herb.

    I have some of this is my herb garden and someone told me you can use it in place of lemongrass in Asian cooking. Have you tried that? I have a hard time finding lemongrass in the stores here.

  3. Piperita

    @Kalyn: I haven’t tried instead of lemongrass, but I think it should be ok, maybe a little sweeter, but very similar…

  4. terry

    Che coincidenza…Ho imbottigliato giusto oggi il liquore fatto con la cedrina! Non vedo l’ora di assaggiarlo!
    Piace molto anche a me questa pianta…erba cedrina…o luigia…o come la si voglia chiamare;-) ….diciamo lemon verbena insomma!;-)

    Stavo pensando ad altre maniere per usarlo…ed arrivi tu con la ricetta! Io il coniglio non riesco a mangiarlo…penso l’unica cosa che non mangio direi…ma mia mamma l’adora e visto che voglio sfruttare la cedrina rimasta giù in giardino, le passo sta ricettina!:-)
    ….pensi che per me potrei sostituire il coniglio con il pollo?
    Hai altre ricettine?!

    Grazie Pip!;-)

    Un abbraccio


  5. terry

    Ma che coincidenza…ho imbottigliato giusto oggi il liquore fatto con l’erba cedrina….o luigia…o come la si voglia chiamare…diciamo lemon verbena!;-)

    Stavo appunto pensando di trovare altre maniere per sfruttare quella rimasta giù in giardino….ed arrivi tu con la ricetta!;-)
    Io il coniglio non riesco proprio a mangiarlo…penso sia l’unica cosa che non mangio o quasi…ma mia mamma l’adora ed allora le passerò sta ricetta!:-)
    Pensi che per me potrei sostituire il coniglio con il pollo?
    Hai altre ricette con questa pianta?

    Sorry…quante domande…cmq grazie Pip!;-)
    Un abbraccio


  6. Terry

    a bella….l’avevo scritto e m’aveva dato “impossibile visualizzare la pagina”…pensavo non l’avesse preso il primo messaggio e l’ho riscritto…sorry!:-)

  7. Scott at Real Epicurean

    This is one of the first posts I’ve seen for WHB #52, seems I better get my skates on.

    I absolutely love rabbit, especially cooked in the “non-english” style – other countries seem to manage so much more.

  8. ejm

    We don’t often see rabbit for sale here. I do like it though.

    I’m particularly interested to see your recipe that features lemon verbena. Many thanks for posting it.

    We have tons of lemon verbena! We use only small amounts of it though – for Thai dishes in place of lemongrass (it works very well, Kalyn), or in mint pesto.


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