Fratelli Perata Winery

Lamb Riblets

I ran across a recipe for something I’d never heard of before: lamb riblets. Luckily, our friend Bob at L.A.'s best butcher shop, Alexander's Fine Meats, visited and I asked him about it. Ah, throwaway stuff, he said, just the thin ends of the ribs without much to them. But I persisted, remembering that recipe (somewhere) and next visit he brought several racks of riblets to work with. Oh, he was right, not much to look at, not much meat, and kind of fatty.

So now it’s Zinfandel Festival, Brad the webman and Dri are helping out in the tasting room. Carol’s looking for the recipe, wanting to BBQ but March 2011 was Rainy! Also on the horizon was a fruit sauce the Day’s were raving about. Bet we could replicate that and try it with the Zinfandel. Hmmm.

So, no BBQ and fruit sauce on the brain, can’t find the original lamb riblet recipe, but they are defrosted and ready to go. Brad is playing around in the kitchen. Carol's meat based tomato sauce was percolating away on the stove. Here’s what Brad did:

Take about a cup of the meat sauce (noting that it is more meat broth than tomato); add a jar of cherry preserves that were sitting on the dining room table, add just a little bit of rice wine vinegar, brown sugar and ground black pepper all to taste.  Cook awhile to thicken, and voila... riblet sauce.

Salt and pepper the riblets vigorously. Grill over high heat on a grill pan/huge skillet on both sides until fat is rendered off and bones are nicely browned. Serve rack per person, with more riblets and sauce on the side. There’s not really a serving of meat on these little bones, but the flavor is incredible.

Now the test. What to pair it with.  Every wine was on the table. We started with the Barbera. Perfect. Then down the line of our whole production. Good, good, good.

Seems the meat sauce base matched all kinds of things, and then the fruit matched a lot else.  We'd lucked into an all purpose sauce, good with almost every wine.  And you could always just toss in something in the fridge if it seems like it would go with whatever the protein is.

Doesn't happen that way a lot, but it sure is fun when it does.