Take Three: Nicky Riemer with rabbit, radicchio and pears.
Dark burnished-pink radicchio, with its stark white ribs, is a red-cabbage lookalike with an uncabbage-like personality. Its mildly bitter flavour brings Italian-style sophistication to salads. From the chicory family, it’s a perennial but its robust colour has a special affinity with autumn.
Pears are pure autumn. Australia has eight autumn varieties bearing into winter, each with its own qualities: sweet, dusty-brown beurre bosc, which caramelises beautifully in butter and sugar; rich-tasting Josephine de Malines, great eaten fresh; white-fleshed green Packham’s Triumph (from May), good poached; versatile, yellow Williams’ Bon Chretien (ends May); Winter Nelis (Honey Pear), good for bottling; burgundy-red, salad-friendly Red Sensation (ends May); Red Anjou (now until November); and small, delicious Corella Forelle (now, to end October). Today’s chef pickles them, for a crunchy, sweet-spiced side.
Western Victoria is a good source of wild rabbit (sold at Robinson Meats, Glenorchy, Tasmania). Tasmanian farms include Glencroft Farm (Tasmanian Fresh Farmed Rabbits, Penguin), or try Vermey’s Meats (Sandy Bay) and Lenah Game Meats. Today’s dish transforms rabbit meat into luscious, rustic rillettes.