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Atomic sauce gives smoked ribs a real blast.

And salsa gets a cool-down

IT IS SWEET AND FITTING that every chef should feel that his barbecued ribs are the best in the world. It is not surprising, therefore, that a 1991 Sunset article on the "last word on ribs" should stir Bruce Macler to a reaction. The result is Reactionary Ribs, his homage to Oakland-style ribs, which uses a dry marinade (or paste or rub, as you wish), a fair dose of smoke, and an application of a sauce after the meat leaves the smoker.

The sauce, appropriately called Atomic Balm, is hot, but it can be rendered even more glowing with a supplement of cayenne.

Reactionary Ribs

1 slab (about 4 lb.) pork spareribs

4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon pepper

2 cups hickory or other wood chips

Atomic balm (recipe follows)

Trim excess fat from ribs. Mash garlic with chili powder, cumin, and pepper to make a paste. Spread paste over ribs; cover and chill 1 hour to 6 hours.

Combine chips with about 2 cups water and let stand at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, on firegrate in a barbecue with a lid, mound and ignite 50 charcoal briquets. When coals are dotted with ash, about 30 minutes, push 1/2 to opposite sides of grate and set a metal drip pan between mounds. Drain chips and put about 1/2 cup on each mound of coals. Add 5 briquets to each mound now and 5 more each 30 minutes during cooking.

Position grill 4 to 6 inches above grate. Set ribs on grill over drip pan. Put lid on barbecue and open vents. After 30 minutes, put remaining chips on hot coals. Cook ribs until meat in thickest section is no longer pink at bone (cut to test), 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cut ribs apart and serve sloshed with atomic balm. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 847 cal. (58 percent from fat); 53 g protein; 55 g fat (21 g sat.); 36 g carbo.; 923 mg sodium; 214 mg chol.

Atomic balm. In a 2- to 3-quart pan, combine 1 cup catsup; 1/4 cup each molasses and lemon juice; 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar; 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed; 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion; 1 tablespoon chili powder; and 2 teaspoons pepper. Stir often over medium-high heat until just boiling. Reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 15 minutes to blend flavors. Use hot or warm; if making ahead, let cool, cover, and chill up to 2 weeks.

CAMARILLO FRIENDS OF Randy Richardson's have tongues too tender for the conventional Southwestern salsas. For them, he devised a black bean and corn salsa that stimulates the taste buds without searing them.

The concept of salsa has gone far beyond the original salsa cruda, the tomato and green chili dip familiar to lovers of Mexican food. Salsa now embraces any number of fruit or vegetable and spice combinations.

This black bean and corn salsa may be used as a dip or rolled in a tortilla. The salsa also makes a fine companion for meats. You could even add some modest heat with green chilies.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

1 can (1 lb.) black beans, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup corn kernels, fresh and cooked, canned, or thawed frozen

2 medium-size (about 3/4 lb. total) firm-ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, and diced

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)

4 green onions, ends trimmed, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon each sugar and ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Salt

12 corn tortillas (6 to 7 in., optional)

In a bowl, mix black beans with corn, tomatoes, cilantro, green onions, vinegar, sugar, cumin, pepper, and salt to taste. Serve, or cover and chill up to 1 day.

Lightly rub each tortilla with water-moistened palms; stack tortillas. To heat in a microwave oven, set stack on a plate and lightly cover with plastic wrap; warm on full power (100 percent) until tortillas are hot in center, about 1 1/2 minutes. To heat in the oven, seal stack in foil. Bake in a 350 |degrees~ oven until hot in center, about 15 minutes.

Eat salsa as a relish or in tortillas. Makes 4 cups.

Per 1/4 cup salsa: 28 cal. (9.6 percent from fat); 1.5 g protein; 0.3 g fat (0 g sat.); 5.3 g carbo.; 49 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY," SAID Thoreau, who found his life frittered away by details. If he took his own advice, he probably lived on sandwiches. Although our Chefs of the West tend to ignore Thoreau (their cry is "Enrich, enrich!"), we do occasionally get a quick and easy sandwich recipe. Charles Van Dyke sends this Mediterranean delight with a mystery ingredient--giardiniera.

You may have seen giardiniera in an Italian delicatessen or among the pickles in a supermarket without learning its name. Layered sliced vegetables in glass jars (sometimes of spectacular height) make a colorful spectacle. These constitute giardiniera: carrots, celery, pickles, and peppers (the usual ingredients, although others may be added). They take a mildly hot flavor from their pickling liquid. Van Dyke chops these vegetables to make a relish for his salami and cream cheese sandwiches.

A Different Sandwich

1 cup drained giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables)

1 small package (3 oz.) neufchatel (light cream) cheese

8 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted

1/3 pound thinly sliced Genoa-style salami

In a food processor or with a knife, finely chop the giardiniera.

Spread cream cheese evenly on 1 side of each toast slice. Spoon giardiniera equally onto cheese on 4 slices; spread level. Top each giardiniera layer equally with salami and a remaining piece of toast, cheese down. Makes 4 sandwiches.

Per sandwich: 348 cal. (57 percent from fat); 15 g protein; 22 g fat (8.5 g sat.); 24 g carbo.; 1,199 mg sodium; 56 mg chol.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Chefs of the West; recipes
Author:Griffiths, Joan; Dunmire, Richard
Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Column
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Words:999
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