Rhubarb with seafood? Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it

Vegetable is often used in pies but works surprisingly well when paired with seafood

Versatile: rhubarb is perfect in pies  and  also with seafood. Photograph: iStock

Versatile: rhubarb is perfect in pies and also with seafood. Photograph: iStock

 

Cockles and clams, cabbage and kale, purple sprouting broccoli and forced rhubarb: all are now upon us as we head into the second half of spring. More and more wild foods find their way into the restaurant, especially little wild garlic spears. A quick walk in the woods and you’re bound to find one of the nation’s most symbolic herbs.

It’s probably too small to make a pesto, but beautiful to pair with poached fish or grilled lamb. It’s so small it needs no cooking. Just lay a few leaves on top of your cooked meat and enjoy the fresh spicy character of new season wild garlic.

Rhubarb is traditionally a main component of desserts such as pies or crumbles. But did you know that it pairs well with fish? In Aniar, we recently paired rhubarb with steamed mussels from Killary harbour. We sliced it super thin and salted it for a few minutes. We then served it in a mussel broth with some fresh sea truffle seaweed.

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Midweek broth

Langoustines also work with rhubarb and you can poach in a light fish stock and then serve with some finely sliced spring onions as part of a nice evening meal or a midweek broth. To make it more of a meal, add some cockles or clams or a handful of tenderstem broccoli. It’ll all take no time to cook. By the time the cockles are open, everything else will be cooked.

Of course, when it comes to rhubarb, you might just fancy a pie so some simply stewed and served over ice-cream. Slice 300g of rhubarb and place in a pot with 75g of sugar and 50ml of dessert wine or a nice apple juice. Simmer on a low heat until the whole lot breaks down. You can blend the compote if you want into a smooth purée but I like the texture of the rhurbarb pieces.

Serve over a few scoops of your favourite ice-cream or use as a filling for a nice short crust crumble pie. Indeed, you may want to do both: make the rhubarb crumble pie and serve with the ice-cream. 

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