David Burke has a signature style. He is able to contort the commonplace into the extraordinary. At Park Avenue Cafe he replaced the bones of St. Louis ribs with either asparagus or salsify. He removed the awkwardness of eating ribs in a fancy restaurant. He made the bones edible. This idea has haunted me for years. It was an idea I directly connected with David and felt replicating it would be copying. And I was right. Until this week.
Korean rice cakes were the star of our kitchen this week. During the 4 day workshop we explored. We smoked them. We fried them. (Please do not do this. It is extremely dangerous. Exploding oil goes everywhere.) We grilled and marinated them. The grilled rice cakes looked like grilled salsify and charred bones. An interesting idea to explore another time. While we were playing with rice cakes we were cooking ribs in the oven.
Connect the dots with me: smoke, rice cakes, salsify, ribs, Burke, bones. While the ribs were hot we removed the bones and replaced them with the smoked rice cakes. We cooled the ribs down and let their juices penetrate the cakes and the smoke permeate the meat. To heat the ribs we broiled them and glazed them with BBQ sauce. The chewy rice cakes had absorbed the flavor of the ribs. Being able to eat the ribs and the "bones" was exhilarating. Its brilliance is in the simple exchange of one thing for another.