Grilled Marinated Rabbit with Walnut Tarator

From Matthew Altizer

2013 Jul/Aug

The delicate flavour of rabbit lends itself perfectly to the bright bold flavours in this dish. Rabbit is very lean and can easily be overcooked, so keep in mind that the meat will rise in temperature by a couple of degrees after you cook it. Tarator is a Turkish dipping sauce that has an incredible savoury flavour that goes well with almost any grilled meat.



  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 c. white wine or sherry
  • 3 T. each thyme leaves and parsley leaves
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • salt and chile flakes to taste
  • 1 large or 2 small rabbits, jointed

Walnut tarator:

  • 1 c. walnuts, toasted
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c. breadcrumbs soaked in 1 c. milk for 5 minutes and then squeezed dry
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • kosher salt to taste
  • lemon wedges to serve


Place all of the ingredients for the marinade, except salt and chile flakes, in a blender and blend until almost smooth but not quite. Pour the marinade into a large bowl, season to taste with salt and chile flakes and add the rabbit pieces. Marinate the rabbit for at least 2 hours at room temp, or overnight in the fridge.

To make the tarator, place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. You may need to add a few drops of water to make the sauce blend up properly – the tarator should have the consistency of a thin mayonnaise. Place the tarator in a bowl and set aside.

Preheat a grill over medium-high and cook the rabbit until it’s slightly charred on the outside and just cooked on the inside – put the legs and shoulders on first – they will take about 10 minutes per side. When you flip the legs and shoulders over, add the saddle (loin) and cook for 5 minutes per side. Remove the rabbit to a serving platter; let it rest for 5 minutes, covered with foil, and garnish with lemon wedges.
Serve with the tarator on the side for drizzling. Serves 4.