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Fig and Ribs with Shaved Fennel

 

Serves 4

 

1 rack      Baby back ribs (12 ribs)

3 oz.        Peeled garlic cloves

3 T          Extra virgin olive oil

1/2 T      Ground cardemom

1/2 T      Ground Indonesian long peppercorn

1/2 T      Instant espresso

1 T          Coconut sugar

1 T          Coarse black pepper

1 C          Mirin, cooking sake

 

1 pt         Balsamic vinegar

1 C          Kalamata olives, pitted

 

1 pt         Ripe, firm black figs, halved

1-2 T      Extra virgin olive oil

 

Trim membrane from the inside of the ribs.  Put garlic in the blender and add just enough olive to blend until smooth. Add spices, espresso powder together with salt and pepper and blend until integrated. Rub the paste on the ribs, cover and refrigerate overnight.

 

Reduce balsamic in half and set aside.

 

Braise the ribs covered at 350 degrees with the mirin for 45 minutes to an hour, checking about halfway to see if there is still liquid in the pan. If not, add another ½ to 1 cup of mirin. Strain the braising liquid and set aside.

 

Pour the balsamic reduction into the blender. Add olives and pulse. Blend until smooth and thick. Add 1/8 to ¼ cup  of braising liquid and blend until smooth. Use to baste the ribs when grilling and reduce on medium high heat to serve as extra sauce.

 

Toss fig halves in olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Grill cut side down on a hot grill. Grill only for marks, turn and grill briefly. Remove and serve with ribs.

 

Shaved Fennel Slaw

 

Serves 4

 

2           Fennel bulbs, trimmed

1/8 C   Lemon juice

1/8 C   Mirin

1/8 C   Rice Vinegar

¼ C     Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 T      Pernod (or any pastis)

            Agave to taste

            Sea salt

            Black pepper

 

Add lemon juice, rice vinegar, mirin, olive oil, Pernod and squirt of agave in a lidded jar. Shake vigorously and adjust agave, salt and pepper to taste.

 

Halve fennel bulbs lengthwise and remove the tough core to the root. Slice paper thin perpendicular to the ribs on a mandolin beginning from the bottom to the top. Toss well in the vinaigrette and refrigerate until served.