Sunday, June 2, 2013

P - Pork Rib Racks Braised in Pedro Ximinez

A photograph of Pork Ribs in Pedro Ximinez
Pork Ribs in Pedro Ximinez

“Meaty, sticky, smoky and sweet – these braised pork ribs are fun finger food for carnivores. There is something primal about holding a bone in your hand and pulling the meat off with your teeth. Some people can do this with such style and panache that it becomes sensual.”

– Frank Camorra & Richard Cornish, ‘MoVida – Spanish Culinary Adventures’

More Photographs inside.
There was nothing sensual about the say we tucked into these pork ribs! They were just too good to be worrying about style and panache. Being Sri Lankan, and comfortable with eating with my fingers, I must confess that I love that moment in a meal where one simply gives up on the knives and forks and delves in. That moment came pretty soon with this meal. There was something about these ribs that cried out for us to pick them with our fingers and gnaw at them – they were that lip smackingly, finger lickingly, good.

A photograph of the ingredients that were used to make Pork Ribs in Pedro Ximinez
Marinade Ingredients

In terms of preparation, this dish hardly posed a challenge. We cooked these as a rack, and only cut the ribs apart at the end when they were cooked. The whole rack was marinated in a to-die-for marinade of garlic, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, smoked paprika, honey, Pedro Ximinez sherry (swoon), Dijon mustard and parsley. Oh. My. God. We LOVE Pedro Ximinez – it’s like drinking caramelized raisins. So you can imagine that the thought of tipping most of the bottle into this marinade was enough of an incentive to try this dish.

After marinating for a couple of hours, the rack was placed in a roasting pan, in a shallow bath of water and sherry vinegar and pretty much left to its own devices in a 200oC oven. It needed to be basted pretty often and I think that was what contributed to the glistening, caramelized outer crust that we so enjoyed crunching away on. The meat was superbly tender and gorgeous to eat. And that’s all there was to it.

A photograph of Pork Ribs in Pedro Ximinez
Pork ribs with Pedro Ximinez

Technical Stuff
The lighting setup documented for this post is for the second shot, the bottles.

A photograph of the lighting setup used for Marinade ingredients
Lighting Setup - Marinade ingredients

The main light for me in this shot was the 430 EX II (1/4th and zoomed to 24mm) fired at the wall from behind the bottles. the light from this strobe bounced off the white tiles and evenly lit the contents of the bottle.

To light the labels of the bottles, I bounced the Canon 580 EX II off the opposite wall at 1/4th. This light was under exposed by about 2 stops but brought out the detail on the labels.

I kept a small gap between the bottles to allow a specular highlight to be created on the sides of each bottle.

Since I used a macro lens for this shot, I had to shoot at around f22 to get all the bottles in focus (as much as I managed anyway). I had to push up the ISO to compensate for this.

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