People who know me would tell you that it's hard to tell which I like more: gardening or cooking. I'd say it depends on which I'm doing at the moment. Anyway, French cooking and French gardening go hand in hand. For me, cooking is an on-going adventure. Join me here on my culinary explorations, where I share with you both my old favorites as well as new inspirations. It's my fondest wish that these recipes serve as a springboard for your own new creations.
02/25/2012 Honey-lacquered pork ribs with Corsican flavors (Travers de porc au parfums corses laqués au miel)
To serve 4:
1 entire side of pork ribs*, cut into 2 equal parts 1 T. minced fresh thyme or garden-dried thyme flowers 2 t. minced fresh rosemary leaves 2 t. dried Sicilian or Greek oregano 2 t. black peppercorns 2 t. sea salt crystals 1 T. dried myrtle berries or substitute 1 1/2 t. juniper berries 2 T. minced fresh sage leaves 1/4 c. chestnut honey or other dark honey 2 T. olive oil
*Please use the best organic pork you can find for this delicious rustic recipe.
Best if you begin the day before. In a medium mortar, grind the peppercorns and salt together. Add all the herbs, including myrtle or juniper berries and grind to a rough paste. Mix in the olive oil. Smear this mixture all over the pork ribs, wrap them in parchment, and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator 2 hours before grilling.
One hour before grilling, prepare a large hardwood fire. You'll need a deep bed of coals at grilling time. (If using charcoal or gas, proceed appropriately. Please note, if using gas, I cannot vouch for results.) When no more flames are visible, place the ribs about 8-10 inches over the hot coals. Grill about 20 minutes, turning frequently. (Times given are for husky ribs nearly 2" thick.)
Baste the ribs with the honey and continue grilling, turning about every 3 minutes, for approximately 10 more minutes. Watch carefully, as the honey burns easily. When the ribs resemble the photo above, remove from the fire to a platter. Cut into several pieces so that diners can have equitable portions (some ribs are meatier than others). Provide finger bowls or damp kitchen towels for wiping hands.
Note: Everyone loves pork ribs, and I'm no exception. These are the best grilled ribs I know. Corsica is famous for its delicious pork from half-wild pigs which roam the forest browsing on chestnuts and acorns. Use the best pork you can find, close your eyes, and imagine that you are dining on the incomparable Ile de Beauté.