Posts Tagged ‘rhubarb’

Savory Rhubarb… it can be done!

May 9, 2012

Happy Spring! And what a fortuitous assemblage of circumstances I had to celebrate.

  1. At the market last week I saw the first rhubarb of the season and did a dance. Then bought some and had to figure out what to make with it besides a pie or tart.
  2. I got a new bookshelf for my cookbooks and decided to look through one for some Spring inspiration when I found an old list of recipes I wanted to try tucked inside the cover. The most interesting is the one that follows.
  3. I had a whole striped bass in the freezer that I bought for an undetermined special event.
  4. I recently read through some japanese cookbooks and, as a result, not only had miso and soy sauce on hand, but also had a quick method of making fish stock in my repertoire (involving seaweed and tuna flakes).

With all of these events perfectly aligned on a free weekend, I defrosted the fish for a celebration of a savory rhubarb meal and a not-so-warm Spring.

Striped Bass with Rhubarb

Striped bass stuffed with rhubarb and onions baked in a sauce of miso, soy sauce, and fish stock.

Fish with Rhubarb and Onions

inspired by Amy’s recipe collection, originally published in the New York Times

Ingredients

  • 1T white miso paste
  • 1T soy sauce
  • 1t fish sauce
  • 1c fish stock
  • 1 fish, whole (striped bass)
  • 2T peanut oil
  • 1T ginger, minced
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 1c rhubarb, chopped to ½"
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet.
  2. Toast the ginger in the oil until just brown.
  3. Add the onion and rhubarb and cook until soft.
  4. Blend the miso, soy sauce, and fish sauce in a bowl.
  5. Add the fish stock to the mixture.
  6. Add the liquid to the skillet and stir to cover the onion and rhubarb.
  7. Stuff the cavity of the fish with the onion and rhubarb and pour the sauce over the fish.
  8. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, then turn the fish over and bake for 20 minutes more.

Variations

I modified this recipe from the original based on what I had in the house and it seemed to be forgiving in the vegetable department. I subbed a yellow onion for scallions but I think any onion-type food would do (mmm… shallots). I used striped bass but the original is made with tilapia. The biggest difference was the cooking method. You’re supposed to stir fry pieces of tilapia but I had a beautiful whole fish in the freezer so I chose to bake it stuffed. And what delicious success I had! Any white fish would probably work well. The important piece of this recipe is really the sauce and the rhubarb.

Too Hot To Handle Custard

June 13, 2010

I learned some very important lessons in making this custard pastry treat.

  1. Custard, heat, and humidity do not mix.
  2. Puff pastry, heat, and humidity do not mix.

My vision of a pile of custard atop a paper-thin piece of pastry deflated in all the wrong places: the custard melted and the pastry puffed. In spite of these disappointments, I did confirm my philosophy that messy = tasty. Perhaps I should have followed the actual recipe and served it in a bowl as a sit-down dessert, not as finger food at First Friday.

Rhubarb Custard Pastry

A single piece of rhubarb grand marnier custard pastry.

Millefoglie With Grand Marnier and Rhubarb

inspired by Gourmet, March 2003 found on Epicurious

Ingredients

  • 2¼ c whole milk
  • ¼ t salt
  • 4 egg yolks (large)
  • ⅔ c sugar
  • 2 T flour
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 2 T butter
  • 5 T grand marnier
  • 1½ lb rhubarb
  • 1 c water
  • ⅓ c sugar
  • large bowl of ice water
  • 1 (17oz) package frozen puff pastry sheets
  • 4 egg whites (large)
  • ⅔ c heavy cream
  • 48 pieces of mint
  • ¼ c powdered sugar
Rhubarb Custard Pastry

A beautiful pastry, even if it's melted and messy. That just makes it taste better!

    Custard

  1. Thaw the puff pastry sheets in the refridgerator.
  2. Boil 2 c milk and salt in a heavy saucepan.
  3. Whisk egg yolks, sugar, flour, cornstarch, and ¼ c milk in a bowl.
  4. Whisk egg mixture into saucepan.
  5. Boil the mixture for two minutes while whisking.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in chopped butter until melted.
  7. Stir in 3 T grand marnier.
  8. Transfer to a bowl covered with wax paper.
  9. Chill at least one hour.
  10. Rhubarb

  11. Chop rhubarb stems into 1-inch diagonal pieces.
  12. Simmer rhubarb in water, sugar, and 2 T grand marnier in a heavy saucepan, uncovered, until rhubarb is tender (4 min).
  13. Place the saucepan in a bowl of ice water for 2 minutes.
  14. Drain the rhubarb, returning the liquid to the saucepan.
  15. Cover the rhubarb and keep at room temperature.
  16. Boil the liquid until reduced to ½ c.
  17. Pastry

  18. Preheat oven to 400F.
  19. Grease a large baking sheet.
  20. Unfold a puff pastry sheet and roll out into a 14-inch square on a lightly floured surface.
  21. Place puff pastry on baking sheet and prick all over with a fork.
  22. Do the same with the other puff pastry sheet.
  23. Place baking sheets in top and bottom third of the oven and bake for 7 minutes.
  24. Switch top and bottom sheets and bake another 7 minutes or until golden brown.
  25. Cut pastry sheets into 2-inch squares.
  26. Baked Puff Pastry Sheets

    Puff pastry sheets after baking a bit too long.

    Assembly

  27. Beat heavy cream in a bowl until it forms soft peaks.
  28. Fold cream into custard mixture.
  29. Beat egg whites in a bowl until stiff but not dry.
  30. Fold egg whites into custard mixture.
  31. Place a teaspoon of custard on each pastry square.
  32. Place a piece of rhubarb on each custard spoonful.
  33. Place a piece of mint on each custard spoonful.
  34. Drizzle some syrup over each piece.
  35. Sprinkle some powdered sugar over each piece.

Variations and Notes

I departed from the original recipe in a variety of ways, most notably in that I made single layer pastry squares instead of a multi-layer dessert. I used grand marnier instead of grappa because I had it on hand and read a user’s comment that it worked well. I added mint leaves for presentation and they wound up completing the taste of the pastry. There was a spice and freshness that the mint leaf contributed and the pastry tasted too sour without it.

I also left off the syrup and powdered sugar. I added the egg whites. These two decisions were driven by the weather that day: 90F and humid. I’m not familiar with custard, only mousse, so I’m not sure of the tactile characteristics of custard. However, I think the weather really deflated the custard and made it very running. Although, the small teaspoon that I was able to fit on each pastry square was well-balanced in terms of flavor. Just a bit messy!

Puff Pastry Sheet

The difficulties of puff pastry. My solution was to thaw it in the refridgerator to prevent it from sticking to itself.