Ribs with lemon and garlic: Savory sophistication with no fuss
“If only every restaurant-quality dish were this simple,” said Stuart Brioza in State Bird Provisions: A Cookbook (Ten Speed Press). At our restaurant on Fillmore Street in San Francisco, “we tend to do things the hard way”—even if that means having to debone several hundred quail a week so they can be deep-fried and served as our signature dish. These ribs, by contrast, are easy, and “the flavors are as sophisticated as the process is uncomplicated.”
I use parchment paper inside aluminum foil to catch all the juices from the ribs as they’re cooked slowly with lemon, garlic, and rosemary. Those juices then become the basis of a glaze used when the ribs get a last-minute grilling. For a final touch, I add a dusting of shichimi togarashi, a widely available Japanese spice blend. It “provides a little heat and even more complexity without any added effort.”
Recipe of the week
Pork ribs glazed in their own juices
2 equal-size racks pork spare ribs (2 to 2½ lbs each)
2 tbsp kosher salt
1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 medium garlic cloves; 4 thinly sliced, 1 smashed and peeled
2 lemons, ends trimmed, cut into ¼-inch rounds, plus 1½ tbsp lemon juice
Leaves from 1 large rosemary sprig, plus 1 small whole sprig, torn in half
1½ tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp shichimi togarashi
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
Preheat oven to 350. On a work surface, lay out foil about 4 inches longer than the rib racks. In center of the foil, lay parchment paper about 3 inches longer than the racks. Salt and pepper ribs on both sides.
Lay one rack, meaty side down, on parchment. Scatter sliced garlic on top and tile with lemon rounds. Scatter on rosemary leaves. Lay the other rack, meaty side up, on top of first rack. Wrap parchment snugly around racks, tucking short sides under. Repeat with foil.
Place foil package on a baking sheet. Bake about 2 hours, rotating once. Remove from oven. Let rest one hour.
Open foil package, discarding lemon, garlic, and rosemary. Transfer racks to a cutting board and cut into individual ribs. Pour juice from package into a saucepan, adding smashed garlic clove and torn rosemary sprig. Set over high heat and bring to a simmer.
In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and 1 tbsp water until smooth. Pour mixture into saucepan, return to boil, and cook, stirring frequently, until glaze thickens slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice to taste; season with salt. Strain through a sieve into mixing bowl, discarding solids.
Prepare a grill (or preheat a grill pan) to cook over high heat. Oil grill grates or pan. Add ribs and grill, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 3 to 5 minutes. As they brown, brush ribs with glaze. Transfer ribs to a platter. Sprinkle with shichimi togarashi and scallions. Serves 6 to 8.