So everything went fine with my “procedure” last week, in case you were wondering. My expectations, admittedly, were pretty low. The initial conversation with the plastic surgeon went something like, "Can you just slap something up there that’s moderately convincing. Something that will stay put, instead of shimmying up and out of the neck hole of my shirt while I’m talking to my neighbors, Jesus Christ.”
But it turns out that the man has an artistic streak, a masterful grasp of subtlety and restraint that you don’t see too much evidence of on the market these days. It took me by surprise because I’m pretty sure we didn’t hit it off the first time we met. Probably because I just assumed he was surgically altering me with his eyes the minute he walked in the room, sowing potential seeds of self-doubt to ensure future business, causing me to become instantly hostile and defensive. Nevertheless, I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong and I may have been a little bit…you know, wrong about him. Maybe. Potentially.
Anyway, his good work isn't suitable for viewing, yet, so how about some ribs instead?
Sticky Asian Spareribs
Let marinate overnight for maximum flavor. Parboiling the ribs keeps the cooking time in the oven to under an hour.
3½ lbs. pork spareribs
½ cup hoisin sauce
3½ Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine, white wine, or sake
1½ Tbsp. minced garlic
1½ Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
Pinch or two of dried red pepper flakes, more if you like them spicy
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
½ Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. sliced scallion greens
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. With a sharp knife or kitchen shears, separate the spareribs into 2½-inch-long pieces. Add the ribs to the pot and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together hoisin sauce, soy sauce, wine, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, and sugar. Remove the ribs, let cool slightly, then add to the marinade. Toss lightly to coat and cover with plastic wrap. Let the ribs marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the spareribs and marinade on a sheet pan lined with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Flip the ribs and bake them another 15 minutes or so until the meat is tender and the glaze is sticky but not burnt. Sprinkle with sliced scallions. Original recipe says to serve with roasted winter squash, which you can bake alongside the ribs on a separate pan, cut-side down, until tender. Serves 4-6.
Source: Adapted from A Spoonful of Ginger by Nina Simonds.