Monday, November 2, 2009

Tuscan Baby Back Ribs

2 quarts water
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns
2 tablespoons ground fennel
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons juniper berries, crushed
2 teaspoons dried marjoram, crumbled
4 bay leaves
1 head of garlic, halved horizontally, plus 2 teaspoons minced garlic
Two 2-pound racks of pork baby back ribs
4 large anchovy fillets, mashed
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of the water with the salt, sugar, peppercorns, fennel, coriander seeds, juniper berries, marjoram, bay leaves and the halved head of garlic, Bring the brine to a simmer, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Arrange the racks of pork ribs in a single layer in a roasting pan just large enough to hold them. Add the brine and the remaining 6 cups of water. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and for up to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325°. Drain and rinse the ribs and pat dry. Set the racks on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and cover with foil. Roast for about 2 hours, or until very tender.

In a large bowl, mash the anchovies and the remaining 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, then stir in the lemon juice. Add the 1/2 cup of olive oil and the parsley.
Light a grill. Brush the grate with oil and grill the racks over a medium-hot fire for 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until crisp and browned. Transfer the racks to a cutting board and cut in between the ribs. Toss the ribs in the dressing and pile on a platter. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

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