When you hear rhubarb most of us think of pie, but this wonderfully tart herbaceous plant is also delicious in savory dishes. In the latest volume of Fresh Pantry, a monthly e-cookbook series from award-winning author Amy Pennington, we learn the sweet and savory ways of this delicious springtime plant. Fresh Pantry: Rhubarb features 14 creative and easy recipes like Coriander Ribs with Rhubarb BBQ Sauce, Rhubarb & Celery Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts, and Rhubarb-Banana Sherbet. Pennington also gives tips and techniques fro growing and storing rhubarb. Get a downloadable copy for just $2.99 or the full year's subscription for only $30 (buy here).
Read an excerpt from this latest volume and get a recipe courtesy of Amy Pennington.
Pickled Rhubarb & Smoked Trout Brandade
Excerpted from Fresh Pantry: Rhubarb, Skipstone Books 2013
MAKES 1 CUP PICKLED RHUBARB;
SMOKED TROUT BRANDADE SERVES 4 TO 6 AS A STARTER
Pickled rhubarb is crisp and tangy—a nice change of pace from pickled cucumbers or cornichons. It offers an acidic bite to rich and heavy meals and pairs well with roasted beef or duck. Try it alongside a big slice of paté, served with a spoonful of mustard and a crunchy baguette. Here, Smoked Trout Brandade takes the place of paté, making for a lighter, spring-like nosh that may be served hot or cold. I love smoked fish for its ease of preparation and its strong flavor profile. These are my favorite pickling aromatics, but you can vary the spices to suit your own palate. In summer, add a sliced jalapeño or a handful of basil. The combination of potatoes and fish extends the meal, making this an affordable starter when you want to serve something elegant yet cost-effective.
½ pound rhubarb, trimmed and cut into thin slices
1½ cups apple cider vinegar
½ cup sugar
One 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into thin coins
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
15 whole cloves
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
1 tablespoon red chile flakes
Pinch of salt
SMOKED TROUT BRANDADE
4 ounces smoked trout
1 large Yukon potato (about ½ pound), peeled and boiled until soft
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
4 to 6 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ cup pickled rhubarb
To prepare the pickled rhubarb, place the rhubarb in a nonreactive mixing bowl (one that is stainless steel, glass, or ceramic) and set aside.
In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the apple cider vinegar, sugar, ginger, star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves, coriander seeds, red chile flakes, and salt over high heat until simmering, about 10 minutes.
When the liquid is near boiling, remove from the heat and pour it over the rhubarb. Let the mixture sit on the countertop until cool, stirring occasionally. Once the pickled rhubarb has cooled, put it in a glass jar, covered, in the fridge until ready to use.
To prepare the trout, put it in a medium-sized mixing bowl, breaking it into small pieces. Add the potato, tarragon, lemon rind, salt, and pepper and mash together using the tines of a fork until a thick paste is created. It’s okay to leave larger pieces of fish in for texture. Pour in half of the heavy cream and stir well to combine.
If you would like a thinner spread, add more heavy cream until the desired consistency is reached. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if desired.
Put the brandade in a small bowl or ramekin and serve alongside crostini or crackers and a small bowl of the pickled rhubarb, allowing people to build their own appetizer.
PANTRY NOTE: Pickled rhubarb is high in acidity and will therefore keep for many weeks, covered, in the fridge. Once you’ve eaten it all, do not discard the brine—you can reheat it and make another batch of pickled rhubarb or use as a seasoned rhubarb vinegar on green salads or legumes. The Smoked Trout Brandade can be made ahead and held in the fridge for up to two days before serving. If made in advance, remove from the fridge and let it warm to room temperature before serving.
Other volumes in the Fresh Pantry series: