Grilled Baby Back Ribs
4 to 6 servings
Adapted from French Grill: 125 Refined & Rustic Recipes by Susan Herrmann LoomisAlthough I’ve given instructions for cooking them on the stovetop, for this quantity of ribs, you may need two pans. We did one batch in a grill pan and the other in a cast iron skillet. If you only have one pan, you can keep the first batch warm on a baking sheet on in a baking dish, covered in foil in a moderately hot oven, while you cook the second batch or ribs. For best results, toast and grind your own cumin. It does make a difference although ground cumin can be used.Susan’s recipe uses baby back ribs. In France, we get travers du porc. Like any grilled meat recipe, use the instructions for cooking as guidelines. If you see (or smell) the garlic burning, turn the ribs over, then turn them back again a few minutes later. The total cooking time was about 30 minutes on my stove.
2 pounds (1kg) baby back ribs, trimmed of excess fat
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large cloves garlic, minced
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional oil for the preparing the pan
1. Cut the rack of ribs into portions of 4 or 5 ribs, or whatever size will fit in your pan. For this recipe, using 2 pounds (1kg) ribs, she cut them into four portions. Put them in a large bowl.
2. Toast the cumin in a skillet, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool, then grind the seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle with the salt. (If you don’t have either, place them in a sturdy freezer bag and whack them with a hammer.) Sprinkle them over the ribs, along with the minced garlic, several generous turns of freshly ground black pepper, smoked paprika, and olive oil. Rub the seasonings into the ribs and let them stand for 1 hour at room temperature. They can be prepared up to this point and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. (If you refrigerate them, let them come to room temperature before grilling.)
3. When ready to cook the ribs, brush a grill pan with oil and heat it on the stovetop over medium-high heat. (If using two pans, simply follow the instructions, dividing the ribs into the two skillets.) Add the ribs to the pan, fattiest side down. Check after a few minutes to make sure the garlic isn’t burning. If it is, turn the ribs over.
4. After about 7 minutes, turn the ribs, if you haven’t yet, and cover the pan. I used a lid from a stockpot. Continue to cook the ribs, turning them as necessary, but leaving them in place long enough so the fatty side turns a deep golden brown.
5. Cook until the ribs are tender when poked with a sharp knife; if you cut into one, the meat next to the bone should be cooked through and not pink, which will take 20 minutes or so. Turn off the heat and leave the ribs covered in the pan for another 5 minutes before serving.

Serving: Cut the ribs into pieces and serve on a platter, warm. Serve with a salad of your choice. I especially like <a href=”https://www.davidlebovitz.com/cole-slaw-with-wasabi-dressing/”>slaw</a>-<a href=”https://www.davidlebovitz.com/chicken-mango-cole-slaw-recipe/”>type</a> salads with grilled meat.

Note: If you want to cook the ribs on a traditional grill, Susan explains how to do that in her book, which involves cooking them over a hot grill for about 35 minutes, turning them a couple of times and keeping the grill closed when not turning them, until they are well-browned on all sides.