“I came across some crisp-fried lamb ribs in Chinatown in Queens once, when I was eating my way through New York City. The dish was served as a whole piece of fatty ribs and belly, crispy on the outside and absolutely smothered by a pile of toasted sesame and cumin seeds that I thought would be overpowering, but which actually cut through the meat perfectly,” remembers chef Analiese Gregory.
Read more: Moroccan Baked Eggs and Sausages
“Later, when I was in Morocco, where spices, date syrup and lamb were some of the readily available ingredients in the medina where I would shop every day, I created this version.”
Confit Lamb Ribs with date syrup and toasted spices
- 1.5kg lamb ribs
- 50g salt
- olive oil, as needed for cooking the ribs, plus 2 tablespoons for the breadcrumbs
- 15g fennel seeds
- 15g cumin seeds
- 120g panko breadcrumbs
- 100ml date syrup
Sprinkle the lamb ribs all over with the salt. Arrange them on a tray and refrigerate for eight hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 120 degrees C (250 degrees F).
Wash the ribs, pat dry and put in an ovenproof pot, drenching them in olive oil. Bring the heat up slowly on the stove until the olive oil starts to bubble. Transfer to the oven and cook, covered, for approximately two hours, or until the ribs are tender and the meat comes easily away from the bone. Take the ribs out of the oil and chill down in the fridge until firm.
Combine the spices in a frying pan over a low heat and toast until fragrant, then pour into a bowl to cool down. Put the panko crumbs and two tablespoons oil in the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until crispy and golden. Add the crumbs to the spices, mix together and season with sea salt.
Preheat a deep fryer or stovetop pot of oil to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). You’ll need enough oil to cover the ribs. Take the ribs and cut down between the bones to make individual ribs. Deep fry until brown and crispy on the outside, approximately five minutes. Drain and toss them in a bowl with the date syrup. To serve, arrange on a plate and cover with the spiced crumbs.
How Wild Things Are: Cooking, Fishing And Hunting At The Bottom Of The World by Analiese Gregory, photography by Adam Gibson, is published by Hardie Grant. Available now.
Do you like lamb? How often do you cook it at home?
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