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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Quick and Delicious: Speedy Preparation for Sweet-Tart Roasted Salmon

Rhubarb’s status as a vegetable is often overlooked. Like a fruit, it is often buried beneath a mountain of sugar when baked into a sweet treat like a pie, crumble, or cake, or when reduced into a compote in a saucepan.

But rhubarb has many more uses than baking. Its tart flavour is evocative of citrus or pomegranate and its absence of annoying seeds makes it a versatile addition to savoury meals. It’s a great body builder, reducing to a thick sauce that’s mushy and pulpy like tomato sauce but with a tangier, pinker flavour.

To highlight the savoury qualities of rhubarb, I prefer to pair it with other rich ingredients, such as fatty meats, buttery sauces, or oily fish, so that the acidity of the stalks may cut through them like a light sabre. Imagine vinegar, but handled with extreme delicacy.

I’ve paired rose rhubarb with even pinker salmon fillets in this dish for a quick and easy weekday dinner that will look like a sunset.

First, a sauce is made by simmering rhubarb with fresh ginger, rice vinegar, and scallions until the fruit softens and the sauce thickens. To reduce the acidity, add sugar to taste; however, stop short of turning the sauce into a compote, in which case it would be more suited for your morning yoghurt.

When the sauce achieves your desired tart/sweet balance, drizzle some over the fish fillets and roast. This enables the rhubarb filaments to be exposed to the high temperatures within the oven to singe and caramelise. The remaining rhubarb mixture may be served on the side for an extra burst of flavour.

The most impressive display will come from using bright red rhubarb stalks. Green stalks are just as tasty as their cooked beige and brown counterparts, but they aren’t nearly as visually appealing. But that’s nothing some flashy scallion greens on top couldn’t cure!

If you don’t have salmon, you may use different fillets, but you’ll want to be cautious. A fish with a strong flavour would do well with this bold sauce. Strong fish such as mackerel, swordfish, bluefish, and tuna are able to hold their own in a fight. Fish fillets with a mild flavour, such as cod, flounder, or halibut, will be soon overpowered. Delicate proteins should avoid rhubarb.

The meal is at its best when served over a bed of buttery rice, which takes on the rich flavours of the salmon and sauce.

If you want to get to know rhubarb better, don’t save it for dessert.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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