ribs à la mom, round one.
my mom makes the best ribs ever. no exaggeration. you can ask anyone who’s ever had them, including my sister’s and my college friends and a handful of taiwanese families in suburban st. louis who frequented our dinner parties when i was growing up. though my sister has nearly perfected the recipe and technique over many trials in the last few years, i had never braved the ribs. mostly because i can never eat more than two of them, and making them always seemed just too daunting. turns out it’s just a matter of mincing a ridiculous amount of garlic, and smearing it all over your ribs with salt, pepper, honey and soy sauce. this is definitely further evidence that simple is best. in general, i’ve tended to refrain from attempting any dishes that fall squarely in my mother’s domain, but talking them up to others not only has them asking for a sample, but also has me craving them myself.
but i’m getting ahead of myself. in honor of a good friend’s return from the states, i decided to do a rib-themed dinner. before you start imagining baby back brownies, let me explain that in italy, they call swiss chard coste, which means ‘ribs’ (obviously for the substantial stalk this vegetable has). they also call a more spinach-like leafy green costine, which also means ‘ribs’. i cooked up the former with some fish sauce and lime and garlic. the latter i didn’t bother with this time around. but first, the scallion pancakes:
which would have been substantially better had i the right flour and cooked them long enough. the edges of these were just about perfect, while the middles were a bit chewy and undercooked. with guanciale (and rendered guanciale fat) of course.
animal (and people) ribs are also called costine, and here are my costine di suino. i guess i should point out that this dinner was rib-themed only in the sense that i realized while cooking that i was working with more than one ingredient that goes by that name. in any case, i definitely got the proportions for the wet rub right (and the recipe is very, very approximate, if it can even be called a recipe), but for round two, i’m definitely going to triple the quantity. while tasty, these just weren’t saucy enough and didn’t fall off the bone. it might also be the pork here as well — the ribs weren’t endowed with fat in the same places that i’m accustomed to — but we’ll see if i can’t get these up to mom level before the summer’s out. i still can only eat just two costine, but i know a couple people who can help polish off two kilos’ worth.