Spike Gjerde, the James Beard award-winning chef at restaurants like The Rakes Progress in Washington, D.C. and Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, approaches local sourcing with religious fervor. He forgoes olive oil and lemons, using locally grown and pressed oils and vinegars in their place. His team dries mint, lavender, peaches, and cherries—and even makes garlic powder. He refuses to buy from distributors, even when they buy from local growers, because he wants every penny to go the farm. “A lot of people say, ‘Wow, this is harder than I thought. Then they just call [giant distributor] Sysco. But it’s why we’re doing it,” Gjerde says. “Our job is to get more value back to growers.” At his restaurants, Gjerde uses fish pepper, a spicy heirloom chile, in all kinds of dishes. Here, the pepper infuses a hot honey that’s perfect for drizzling over breaded and fried rabbit loin. Look for loins online if you’re having trouble finding them in stores, or substitute two pounds boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise.

March 2019


Credit: Greg DuPree

Recipe Summary

50 mins
30 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Stir together honey and fish pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until very hot and runny, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.

  • Toss rabbit loins with 2 teaspoons salt. Let rabbit loins stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, stir together 3/4 cup flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a medium bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups cold water, and whisk until a smooth batter forms. Pour oil into a large cast-iron skillet to a depth of 3/4 inch; heat over medium-high to 425°F.

  • Dredge about 5 rabbit loins in remaining 3/4 cup flour, shaking off excess. Dip rabbit in batter, allowing excess to drip off. Fry rabbit loins, turning occasionally, until golden brown and internal temperature registers 150°F, about 4 minutes. (If using chicken thighs, cook to 165°F.) Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Repeat coating and frying process 2 times with remaining rabbit loins, flour, batter, and remaining salt. Serve hot, drizzled with fish pepper hot honey.