Monday, August 2, 2010

Fast BBQ ribs; Beet and Rosemary Rosti

This meal came together way faster than I would have expected, probably an hour total. Fast cooked ribs are obviously different than melting, fall-off-the-bone tender, dreamy 9 hour slow cooked ribs... but these were honestly really good, and kind of scratched the bbq itch sufficiently. And the Beet Rosti may be my new favorite way to eat beets. We also had cold creamy cole slaw and a green salad, and it was a really fun hot day meal.

First the ribs:

I used about 2 pounds of country style pork ribs. To jump start the cooking process, I threw them in a big pot with enough water to cover, 4 cloves of garlic, some salt and some whole peppercorns. I covered it and brought the water up to a boil, then turned it down to medium low and let it simmer just until the meat seemed to be cooked, only about 10 or 15 minutes. It will look disturbingly gray and pathetic, I'm just being honest.

Meanwhile I had my charcoal getting hot outside, in my chimney starter, and my barbecue sauce simmering on the stove (recipe another time maybe).

I removed the ribs to a platter, and seasoned them well with salt and pepper, and drizzled with a little light olive oil (I prefer to cook with the light stuff, since it's cheaper, and save the extra virgin for using raw i.e. sparingly). I put them on the grill and covered it, and came back turned them after about 7 minutes - they had gotten beautifully brown.
I painted the browned side with some hot barbecue sauce, let the other side cook, and then flipped again, and painted the other side with sauce. Then I messed up and left them on there for way too long (was upstairs making the Beet Rosti!) and they burned on one side a little... but not so much that we didn't eat them all up and enjoy every bite.
Scattered throughout the rib preparation was the Beet Rosti preparation, which is a Mark Bittman recipe which I've had saved in an email draft for a LONG time, I'm glad I finally tried it. A rosti (umlaut over the o I think) is a usually a shredded potato pancake, very swiss (like our grandma Jean). This is a great way to use beets differently than the expected roasted/sliced way, which is good and all, but gets a little old, for me, frankly (we get beets almost every week in our CSA) (not complaining at all! I love beets! Keep em coming!). Anyway, this way of cooking beets emphasizes their sweetness, and transforms their texture in a way I really enjoyed.

Beet and Rosemary Rosti
adapted from Mark Bittman

2 pounds of beets, peeled with vegetable peeler
2 carrots (optional), peeled
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (honestly skip it if all you have is dried - it'll just turn to inedible little sticks)
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper

Shred the beets and carrots (thank the good Lord for food processors!) and put in a bowl, season liberally with salt and pepper. Start to preheat a 12 inch non-stick skillet. Mark Bittman warns that the temperature should never be very high on this, or it will burn (lots of sugar in them beets). To the bowl of shredded beets/carrots, sprinkle in 1/4 cup of the flour and mix thoroughly (it will turn lovely and pink!), then add the chopped rosemary and the rest of the flour, mixing until completely combined.
I think I might throw in a little finely chopped garlic next time, and thyme would sure be yummy in there too.

Melt 1 tbsp of the butter in the hot skillet, and when the foam subsides, let it go just a little longer (browned butter tastes better!) and then add the beet mixture, pressing it out all the way to the edges of the pan, into a flat round. Axel F said it looked pretty unappetizing at this point. Like some bloody and violent event has taken place, rather than food preparation.
Let it cook on medium heat, shaking occasionally, until you see the edges getting quite brown, maybe about 10 minutes. Now, get yourself two dinner plates. First slide the whole pancake out onto one plate. Then put the other plate upside down over the top of the pancake, hold the two plates tightly together, and flip - remove what is now the top plate to reveal the golden crispy underside! Hooray, it looks so yummy! (To me at least. I believe Axel had his doubts right through until he actually tried it.)

Melt the other tbsp of butter in the pan, and slide the pancake back in to brown the other side, same deal. Be sure to adjust the heat so it doesn't burn, but also so it browns up nicely. You'll know when it's done by the way it shakes around in the pan, it will sound and feel like a dry surface is sliding around in the pan - you have to listen for it. I cut it in three equal pieces and none of us had any trouble finishing it, though the recipe is supposedly for 4 servings. In any case, super good.

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