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Peanut-Crusted Ribs 



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Peanut-Crusted Ribs

Cooking at Home
with a Four-Star Chef

by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman, 1998, Broadway Books

“Despite the large number of ingredients, this recipe – which Jean-Georges
credits to Keith Williams, one of the talented and hardworking sous-chefs at
Vong – is so well balanced you can taste every one in the sauce. Keith likes to
make this dish with baby back ribs, but you can use any ribs you like. Since
it’s all done in the oven, this is an easy recipe to multiply for a crowd, too.”

Makes 4 main-course or 8 appetizer-size servings

2 racks baby back ribs, each weighing about 2 pounds
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 knob of ginger, about 4 inches, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 small red onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
3 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
(canned are fine; drain them first)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili-garlic paste
(available at Asian markets)
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons tamarind purée
(available at Asian markets)
1/2 cup shelled roasted peanuts, minced

1. Place the ribs in a saucepan with the white vinegar and water to cover;
turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the liquid simmers and cook for 40 minutes. Prepare the ingredients for the sauce,
and start it if you like.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Drain and cool the ribs, then peel
off any membrane from their back sides.
3. Combine the 1/2 cup of soy sauce with 1/2 cup water and the ginger in
the bottom of a roasting pan. Put the ribs in the pan, meaty side up, and
put the pan in the oven. Set a timer for 1 hour and 45 minutes. (If you’ve made the sauce already, hold off on beginning to baste the ribs for about
30 minutes. If you haven’t made the sauce, start now.)
4. To make the sauce, place the butter in a skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until softened, 5
to 10 minutes. Add the sugar and stir, then add the ketchup, tomatoes,
mustard, honey, cayenne, chili powder, paprika, and Worcestershire.
Adjust the heat so that the mixture just simmers; cook, stirring
occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until thick.
5. Stir in the chile paste, peanut butter, reserved 2 tablespoons soy sauce,
and the tamarind. Return to a simmer and begin basting the ribs. Baste
every 10 minutes or so. Turn over the ribs about halfway through the
cooking time, cook bone side up for 15 minutes, and turn over again.
After 1 hour and 45 minutes total cooking time, the ribs should be
nearly falling from the bone – that’s how you want them.
6. When the ribs are done, you can set them aside for up to 24 hours -
cool, then wrap the whole pan (including the soy juice on the bottom)
and refrigerate. To finish the ribs, brush them one more time with the
sauce, then sprinkle them with the peanuts. Reheat at 350 degrees F.
for 4 minutes (if you have just removed them from the oven) to 20
minutes (if they were refrigerated). Serve hot.

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