Rabbit Tenderloin on a
Tasso-Parmesan Grits Cake,
with Sautéed Spinach and Creole Mustard Sauce

This is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest dishes in New Orleans. Chef Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen's Restaurant uptown has created a dish of simple parts combined into a complex whole that tastes absolutely scrumptious. It's usually served as an appetizer, perhaps his signature appetizer, but it's also available as a main course.

One of Chef Brigtsen's little "secrets", that he revealed during a food demonstration at Jazzfest, is that he uses Chef Paul Prudhomme's Magic seasoning blends quite extensively ... which isn't surprising, as he trained in the kitchen at K-Paul's.

Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the tasso and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add the water and salt and bring to a boil.

Slowly add the grits, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to very low and cook until the grits are done, 5-7 minutes. The grits should be stiff and not runny.

Remove from the heat and add the cheese, stirring until thoroughly incorporated. Brush a 9x12-inch baking pan with olive oil and transfer the grits mixture to the baking pan. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 1 hour. Cut the grits cakes into 3 inch square or diamond shapes.

To cook the grits cakes, heat a flat-top griddle or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Brush both sides of each grits cake with a little bit of olive oil. Cook the grits cakes for 3-4 minutes on each side until brown and crispy.

Prepare the Creole mustard sauce, and keep warm.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season each rabbit tenderloin with about 1/2 teaspoon of the Magic seasoning. Put the flour into a shallow pan and season with 1 teaspoon of the Magic seasoning. When the oil is hot, add the tenderloins and cook about 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove the tenderloins and place them on a paper towel to drain. Discard the oil and add the spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: On each serving plate, put 1/4 cup of the Creole mustard sauce, 1 grits cake, spinach and 1 rabbit tenderloin. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings.


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Chuck Taggart   (e-mail chuck)