If you ask Danish born fashion photographer Danny Christensen what he shoots with, don’t be surprised if one day he answers with his camera-du-jour and the next time you ask him he’s describing a gun.
You don’t have to run for the hills, this tattooed New Yorker is not mental. He’s what I like to call the modern man—thank god this comes after the metro sexual on the evolution timeline. This is a guy who gets fashion but hasn’t forgotten how to be manly. An almost unicorn-like combo but fitting given he spends so much time in the forest. Listening to Danny you quickly realize that he’s just an urbane dude who happens to be equally comfortable skinning a dead animal as he is preparing it into a breath-taking dish. The lines blur further when he’s ardently telling you about foraging for mushrooms near his house in upstate New York when you know he just stepped off a set having spent the entire day directing models. The renaissance quality of mashing all these disparate things together is what makes him modern. It’s also a breath of fresh air in that it’s simpler than it sounds. These are all just things he does from the heart. The first time he went hunting he was eight years old. It’s who he is. Hunting is just a way to live with the land. Suited up in full fatigue and armed with his weapon of choice this photo is of a typical weekend spent upstate. On this particular day it was all about rabbits and Danny scored three wild ones, later stuffing them in Danish fashion with fresh pine twigs (apparently it rids the body of bacteria). He hunts, he kills, he prepares, he cooks with herbs and vegetables from his garden, he photographs, and finally he eats with his wife and some lucky friends, one of which includes a Monk that lives up the road. It’s that simple.
What he ate:
Rabbit Terrine with Quince Chutney
Scotch Rabbit Egg
Salt Crusted Rabbit with Greens and Polenta Cream
Rabbit Salad with Figs
How to make it:
Scotch Rabbit Egg
200 g ground Rabbit meat
150 g smoked bacon
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked and very finely chopped
1 sprig fresh sage, leaves picked and very finely chopped
1 whole nutmeg, for grating
3 handfuls plain flour
2 freerange eggs, beaten
125 g white breadcrumbs
12 freerange quail's eggs
vegetable oil, roughly 2 litres
1 new potato, for testing Boil water. Grind the rabbit meat with the bacon. Season with the paprika, chopped herbs, a few gratings of nutmeg and a little salt and pepper, using a fork to mash it all up. Put the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs out on the table. Carefully put the quail's eggs into a small pan. Once water boils, pour into the egg and cook for 2 minutes, no longer. Move the pan to the sink and run cold water over the eggs for 2 to 3 minutes. Tap, roll and – ever so gently – peel the shells off them. Do it under running water if it helps. Taking a marblesized piece of ground meat, flatten it out in the palm of your hand until it's about 6cm in diameter. Pop an egg into the middle, then carefully shape and mould the meat up around the egg with floured hands. Pull up the sides, gently squeezing, moulding, patting and squashing the meat around the egg. Repeat with all 12 eggs, then coat them well with flour. Transfer them into the beaten egg and coat well, then roll them in the breadcrumbs. They'll be more robust to hold now, so pat and hug them into shape. When they're all done, put them into a container and pop them into the fridge until needed.
When it’s time to cook, put them into a deep casserole type pan on a medium high heat and fill it about 8cm deep with vegetable oil. Make sure you never fill the pan more than halfway up. Add a piece of potato to help you gauge the temperature – it's ready once the potato turns golden and floats (or when the oil reaches 180°C on a thermometer). Carefully lower a Scotch egg into the pan. After about 4 minutes it should be golden and cooked through. Take it out of the pan to test it. Cut it in half to see if it is, or if it’s under or over cooked.
Once you know where you stand, you can cook the rest, in batches of 6 or less.
Transfer the cooked Scotch eggs to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain. Serve scattered with a pinch of sea salt, alongside a pot of English mustard and with a cold beer. Salt crust
Rabbit with greens and polenta cream
1 whole rabbit
250g coarse salt
1 kg white flour
1 cup of water
8 twigs of thyme
23 twigs of rosemary
5 clove of garlic
fresh ground pepper
10 small carrots
100 g shiitake mushrooms
400g red and yellow beets
1 cup of chicken stock
5 whole spring garlic
butter for sautéing
Remove the whole rabbit from the brine and pat it dry with a paper towel. Mix flour, salt and water into a dough. Roll it out flat on a piece of baking paper – it should be at least ½ an inch thick. Place the rabbit on a bed of thyme, rosemary and garlic (safe a little of everything for sautéing and 1 clove of garlic for the polenta) Fold the dough around it, and make sure it doesn’t break when doing so. You want to keep ALL the juice inside when cooking.
Cook the rabbit in a pre heated oven at 350° for 45 min or until or until it reaches a core temperature of 170° Mix the polenta with chicken stock, 100 g red beets, the shallot and the last clove of garlic. Blend it and season with salt and pepper. Cut the carrots and beets into desired shapes and sizes. If You want to keep them big and rustic, boil them first for a few minutes before sautéing. Melt the butter on a pan with the rest of the rosemary and thyme. Sauté carrots and beets over medium heat and add the mushrooms and the spring garlic 45
min before plating. Season with salt.