This is a classic Tuscan way to serve ribs—simply seasoned, with just a hint of rosemary and garlic, and grilled over charcoal, preferably. It's usually part of a larger platter of mixed grilled things—chicken pieces, fennel sausages, some steak. You'd serve it with sides like roast potatoes, cannellini beans with olive oil, or a simple green salad.
Brining the meat before cooking is not a traditional preparation but it does season the meat very nicely and it also makes it juicier. I'd highly recommend it, but if you don't have the time or aren't organised far enough in advance (ideally you need 18-24 hours, but even 12 is okay), or you don't have scales (get some, look at all the fun things you can do if you have them!), then simply proceed with Step 2 without the brine.
This recipe is adapted from my cookbook, Florentine (published by Hardie Grant Books), which is about the traditional cuisine of Florence. —Emiko
(about 1 kg) pork ribs
extra virgin olive oil
fresh rosemary sprig
garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
In This Recipe
To prepare the brine (if using), place a deep dish or tray on the scales. Tare the scales so they are at zero, then place the ribs and fill the tray with water to cover the meat entirely. Check the total weight of the ribs plus the water—and calculate 1-1.5% of that total, this is the amount of salt you will put in the brine. (I.e., if the total is 2000 grams, then you would use 20-30 grams of salt). Dissolve the salt in the water (make sure it is fully dissolved), then cover and place in fridge 18-24 hours before using.
If not using the brine, simply rub the ribs with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a drizzle of the olive oil.
Grill over a pre-heated barbecue (preferably charcoal) for 30 minutes, turning every 3-4 minutes. Once the meat is seared, use the rosemary sprig to brush the olive oil over the ribs at every turn. Be careful not to burn the meat. If the barbecue gets too hot, remove the meat from the hot spot until the fire cools a little.
To test when the ribs are ready, poke with a sharp knife—if it meets no resistance, it's done.
Prepare a dressing with the remaining olive oil, the garlic slices, and a pinch of salt. When the ribs are cooked, transfer them to a serving plate and coat with the dressing. Serve immediately and be prepared to eat this with your hands.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.