This is the first Ottolenghi recipe I cooked. Ottolenghi is known for his simple way of cooking but I started my learning to cook Ottolenghi journey by picking his cookbook that happened to be the “restaurant food” one. lol
This recipe is from the cookbook NOPI which features 120 of the most popular dishes from Yotam’s innovative Soho-based restaurant NOPI. Many recipes in the cookbook are kind of the fusion food between Middle Eastern and Asian.
I learned to smoke corn using the corn husks for the first time and I did that in my small apartment so I was worried about setting up the fire alarm the whole time I was doing it since I set up the smoke alarm last time when I was cooking the steak.
Smoking the corn was probably my favourite part of cooking this dish since I was curious about how smoking the corn for 5 minutes will cook them through and make them taste good but the result surprised me so now this corn salad recipe has entered my go-to salad recipe list. 🙂
In the cookbook, the recipe mentioned serving 6 people but since we don’t have a starter before main at home, I would say it is perfect for 4 people.
1kg pork baby back ribs, cut into 12 equal small racks (of 2 or 3 ribs per rack)
80g coarse sea salt
4cm piece of ginger, peeled and julienned (35g)
1 medium onion, roughly chopped (120g)
6 garlic cloves, crushed
8 WHOLE STAR ANISE
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp black peppercorns
1.5 litres chicken stock
100ml Shaoxing rice wine
100ml rice vinegar
Smoked corn salad:
4 large corn cobs, with husks (1kg) or without (900g)
15g sprigs of lemon thyme
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp MAPLE SYRUP
60ml olive oil
1 green chilli, de-seeded and thinly sliced
20g coriander leaves
20g mint leaves
20g parsley leaves
4 spring onions, thinly sliced (45g)
coarse sea salt
3 banana shallots, thinly sliced (130g)
60ml MAPLE SYRUP
2 tsp SZECHUAN PEPPERCORNS
1½ tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
1½ tbsp rice vinegar
2 dried red chillies
Paprika Oven Chips
6 large Desiree potatoes (skin on), cut into 1½ cm wide chips (1.2 kg)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp paprika
60ml sunflower oil
2 tsp fine semolina
coarse sea salt and black pepper
1. Place the ribs in a large bowl with salt. Rub it all over the meat and set it aside for an hour.
2. Rinse the ribs well under cold water, gently rub off all the salt, and pat dry. Put them into a large saucepan, for which you have a lid, and add the ginger, onion, garlic, STAR ANISE, cinnamon and peppercorns. Pour over the stock, along with the cooking wine and rice vinegar. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, covered, for an hour.
3. Lift out the pork and set it aside. If you are not serving them in the next couple of hours, let the ribs cool and store them in the fridge, covered, until ready to use. If you do this, make sure you bring them back to room temperature before you coat them in the glaze before serving.
4. Strain the liquid, discard the onion, garlic and spices, and return it to the pan. Place on a high heat and cook for 30–35 minutes, until the liquid has reduced to just 200ml. Remove from the heat and set aside. Chill if you are not serving the ribs in the next 2 hours.
5. Remove the husks from the corn and use them to line the base of a large saucepan or wok which is deep enough to fit a colander or metal steaming basket inside, and for which you have a lid. Add the sprigs of thyme and place the pan on high heat.
6. Once the husks and thyme begin to smoke, after about 6 minutes, place the colander in the pan and place the corn cobs inside it. Use a lid to seal the pan – then smoke for 5 minutes (or 3, if you are using rice in the base of the pan; see introduction). Remove from the heat and set aside, covered, for another 5 minutes. Remove the lid and set aside to cool.
7. Stand each corn cob on a chopping board and use a large sharp knife to shave off rows of kernels, cutting from top to bottom. Cut deep enough into the cob so that some of the kernels remain in clusters: this isn’t essential, it just looks good. Set the corn kernels aside and discard the cobs.
8. About 55 minutes before you are ready to serve, preheat the oven to 240 °C/220 °C fan/gas. Place a large saucepan on high heat with plenty of salted water. Bring to the boil, add the potatoes and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain, then place in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients, 1½ tsp of salt and plenty of pepper. Mix together well but gently – you don’t want them to break apart – and then spread out on two large parchment-lined baking trays; they need to be spaced well apart so that they colour nicely. Roast for about 35 minutes, turning once halfway through until the chips are cooked through, dark-golden and crisp.
9. While the chips are cooking in the oven, about 45 minutes before you are ready to serve, place all the ingredients for the glaze, along with 100ml of the stock reduction, in a large pan. Bring to the boil, then simmer on a medium-high heat for 20–25 minutes, until the liquid has reduced to about 200ml and has the consistency of syrup. Return the pork ribs to the sauce and stir gently so they all get coated. Cook for about 7 more minutes on medium heat, stirring once or twice until the ribs are warmed through and sticky.
10. Just before serving, finish the salad by placing the lime juice, MAPLE SYRUP, olive oil and chilli in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of salt. Whisk to combine, then add the corn kernels, herbs and spring onion and mix together. Place two small racks of ribs on each plate – one leaning against the other – and serve with the corn salad alongside.