Lately we have been enjoying a lot of rhubarb, an old timey fruit-like vegetable that is easily both savory and sweet. I made a lovely poundcake with vanilla-poached rhubarb for my fiancé last month for his birthday (photo to the right) and we ate it by a bonfire! I also made rhubarb jam with angelika, all from the garden.
Although cooking the celery-like pale rose stalks of rhubarb in a pie shell is a typical route to take, this refreshingly tart vegetable also has uses other than for dessert. For example, its acidic tartness makes it an excellent foil for mild fish that is quickly sauteed and finished with a buttery sauce tinged with honey (and if you are me, sautéed shallots). For the Fillet of Sole with Rhubarb recipe below, feel free to substitute with other white fish.
I’ll also share a rhubarb quick bread so you can make the most of this spring goodness and tuck it away in the freezer for potlucks or visiting family this summer!
Note: Select rhubarb stalks that are fresh-looking and slender. Do not be tempted to use the leaves. They contain oxalic acid, which can be toxic.
Fillet of Sole With Rhubarb
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
- 2 stalks rhubarb
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 shallots, minced
- 4 fillets of gray sole, 4 to 6 ounces each
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley.
- Trim the leaves from the rhubarb and cut it into one-half-inch dice. Heat two tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet. Add the rhubarb and shallots and saute over medium heat until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan. Pat the fish fillets dry on paper towels and add them to the pan. Saute just a minute or two on each side until they are barely cooked through. Do not overcook the fish. Remove the fish from the pan and set it aside, loosely.
- Add the lemon juice and honey to the pan and cook briefly, then return the rhubarb and the shallots to the pan. Season with pepper. Swirl in the remaining tablespoon of butter. 4.
* Transfer the fish to each of four individual plates, spoon some of the rhubarb mixture over each, sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Rhubarb Quick Bread
- 8 tablespoons/113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), melted, plus more for the pan
- 1 cup/200 grams plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
- ⅓ cup whole-milk yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ¾ cup/223 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan (one can easily sub gluten-free flour or a mix of whole wheat pastry flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ¾ cup/227 grams chopped rhubarb (8 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8 1/2-inch-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, 1 cup of the sugar, orange zest and yogurt until well combined. Whisk in eggs. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture and 1 1/2 cups rhubarb to butter mixture and fold until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup rhubarb and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and set and a skewer inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 55 to 60 minutes.
- Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 10 minutes, then cut around the edges and carefully flip the loaf out of the pan. Turn it right side up and let it cool completely before slicing.