I’m sorry but I have to "phone this one in" this week. Its not just because spare ribs are nearly impossible to photograph...but that is certainly part of it. (I really can’t wait to see how the rest of the Doristas did photographing this one! ) I wasn’t even going to make these this week and its not just because it has been freakishly busy around here...athough that is also certainly part of it. (Please forgive me Doristas but I really have missed you!) Nope, I wasn’t going to make these because I had turned my nose up at cooking anything with a can of Coca Cola as an ingredient. What cook wants to use a can of cola on a $25 rack of ribs?
After some considerable soul searching I decided to suspend disbelief and nausea and ventured forth to give it a whirl. After all, I had been shaking my head at those Doristas who turned up their nose at cooking with [shocker!] an egg in last week’s assignment. OK, it was a runny egg but still, there can be no more perfect food than an egg...and if it is good on toast, it is good on anything. "These projects are about trying new, fresh things!" I thought to myself. "How are they going to grow as chef's if they don't branch out!" Well hello! Who says I should be immune from my own wisdom?
This week I actually picked up the book and read most of it on the whole (something I think is lacking with most cook book readers these days) and realized that the genius of the Around My French Table is that for every few takes on traditional French favorites Dorie slides in something off the wall to keep it interesting for us. So we don't forget that the French food experience isn't always crème brûlée and beef bourguignon. This is surely one of those things that isn't one of those things. Upon reflection, I knew I had to give it a go. I put on my dark glasses, big hat, and disguise and went to the market to buy a Coke.
The recipe calls for apricot jam but I used some mild mango chutney which I had on hand already. (You’ll see the recipe that was used for soon.) It added a great complexity when layered on the Chinese Five Spice and kept the ribs from getting too sweet. I am generally not a fan of sweet pork and duck recipes but this one will be an exception as the flavors (and ‘sweet’) did not overpower the rib taste.
Then, as if to perhaps reclaim my French cooking cred after deigning to cook with a Coca-Cola I whipped up a batch of my favorite French tarragon potato salad to go with it.
Potato Salad with Tarragon and Chives
- 4 pounds Yukon gold or Charlotte potatoes
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 pink shallots, sliced into very thin rings
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- A couple of handfuls torn fresh tarragon leaves and chives
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup grapeseed or olive oil
Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Salt, then bring to a boil, and cook until tender. When they are fork tender, drain, cool, and slice into a bowl. Pour over the white wine and mix until absorbed.
While the potatoes cook, put the shallots into a small bowl and pour over the red wine vinegar. Leave to macerate 5 minute. Drain thoroughly. Add the shallots, tarragon, and chives to the
potatoes. Stir the mustard into the oil, and pour over the potatoes. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Toss, and serve.