“Meat”. A one word answer to a question that could prompt any number of replies. I recently started a second job as an assistant server at a 5 diamond Relais & Chateaux property, and have made a lot of new friends. I decided to host a girls only LATE dinner (they got to my house at around 11:30 – after work) slash sleepover for my coworkers. When I asked Gabi what she wanted me to make for her at the party, that was her reply. One word. Meat. Not exactly specific directions.
We spend a lot of time together as workmates, 10-12 hour days, 6 days a week. You get to know each other quickly. And you do a LOT of eating together. I love the camaraderie as we eat staff dinner and prepare ourselves for another shift. We also meet up for lunch between breakfast and lunch service, so I’ve picked up on what a lot of the ladies’ tastes are for food. In this group we’ve got people with likes and dislikes as varied as their countries of origin (Gabi is from Serbia, Melissa and Sally from London, Ilaria from Italy).
As I’ve mentioned before, I always have a little performance anxiety when cooking for people for the first time, and this time was no different; perhaps even a little MORE intimidating. These ladies are from all over the world and are used to different cuisines and tastes than I am. Gabi, in particular, has me worried. We’ve eaten together a lot and she doesn’t like a LOT of what she eats – not in an “I’m fussy” sort of a way, but more of an “I know what I like” sort of way. So, I know she doesn’t like sweet, likes salt, LOVES meat, and refuses to eat birds – especially birds with bones.
So, armed with very vague instructions and sheer determination, I scoured the recipe app on my phone to find something suitable and I decided to go with Epicurious’s Marinated Thai-Style Pork Spareribs. Knowing how much our whole crew likes Thai food (There is an awesome local place, Mekhong Thai, that we frequent for lunch) I decided to go with chicken satay as well.
I love trying out new recipes on new company, and this one has all the elements I like to see in a recipe: garlic, ginger, scallions, fresh cilantro. So while Melissa and I got the house ready for company I marinated the pork (I love any recipe that requires that you marinate meat for over an hour – generally that equals really good flavor). I cooked it slow and low (350 for an hour and a half) so it was ready just as the ladies arrived. It may just be that they were starving and exhausted after a long day’s work, but they loved it. So I thought I’d pass it along to you …
Marinated Thai-Style Pork Spareribs
courtesy of Epicurious.com
- 1 cup sliced shallots
- 10 scallions, coarsely chopped
- One 3-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
- 8 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro including thin stems (and roots, if possible)
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 pounds pork spare ribs, cut by your butcher across the bone into 2- to 3-inch “racks,” each rack cut between the bones into individual 2- to 3-inch-long riblets
- Put the shallots, scallions, ginger, garlic, cilantro, soy sauce, fish sauce, salt, pepper, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Process to a loose, finely chopped paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.
- Place pork ribs in a large bowl or a pair of heavy resealable plastic bags. Thoroughly coat the ribs with the marinade, massaging the paste into the flesh for a minute or so. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 2 hours or up to 5 hours in the refrigerator, tossing the ribs once or twice during this time.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the ribs out, bone-side down, on two large, parchment-lined baking sheets and bake until ribs are deeply colored and very tender but not yet falling from the bone, about 1 – 1/2 hours, occasionally rotating the pans to encourage even cooking. Remove from the oven and serve with small bowls of Thai Chile-Herb Dipping Sauce.