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Maple and Fig Lamb Ribs with Goat Cheese and Walnut Dust

Maple and Fig Lamb Ribs with Goat Cheese and Walnut Dust

From: Chef Elise Wiggins, Panzano, Denver. Yield: 5 servings.

¼ cup vegetable oil
2  garlic cloves, minced
4 Tbsp. finely chopped rosemary
2 Tbsp. fennel pollen
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne, divided
2½ teaspoons salt, divided
2 racks of lamb spareribs
½ cup fig preserves
¼ cup champagne vinegar
¼ cup maple syrup
10 oz. young goat cheese
4 oz. finely chopped roasted walnuts
5 Tbsp. roughly chopped Italian parsley

In a small bowl, stir together oil, garlic, rosemary, fennel pollen, pepper, ½  tsp. cayenne and 2 tsp. salt.

Remove membrane from the lamb ribs; pat ribs dry and rub all over with spice mixture. Transfer ribs to a large sealable plastic bag; seal bag, pressing out excess air. Marinate ribs in refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

Bring ribs to room temperature, about 1 hour.  Transfer ribs to a 17 x 12-inch heavy shallow baking pan and cover pan tightly with foil.  Bake at 350°F on middle rack for 1¼  hours.

In a 1-quart heavy saucepan, stir together preserves, vinegar and syrup. Add remaining ½ tsp. cayenne and ½ tsp. salt; bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

Discard foil from ribs; carefully pour off and discard fat from pan. Allow to cool. Cut into single rib servings.

Brush ribs with some of marmalade glaze and return to roasting pan. Cook until brown and tender, basting every 10 minutes (use all of glaze) and turning racks over every 20 minutes.

To serve: Stack 4 bones on top of each other, scoop a quenelle of goat cheese dip in walnut dust and plate beside the ribs. Garnish ribs with sprinkle of walnuts and roughly chopped parsley.

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