This is week 10 of The Food Matters Project. This week Camilla chose the recipe and it was Fish Nuggets Braised in Rhubarb Sauce. The fish is cooked in caramelized sugar which is a classic Vietnamese technique that I am very familiar with. I cook a lot of Vietnamese food so I could mentally taste the flavors except for the Rhubarb. After thinking about it for a while I realized that I AM A RHUBARB VIRGIN! I have never had rhubarb before...not sure why...my grandmother used to grow it but I think she must have made sweet things with it and I wasn't a sweet eater. I asked Ron (hubby) if he had had it before and he said quite often. He grew up in Germany and they had it over ice cream and in pies. I mentioned that I would be putting it in a Vietnamese style dish and his words were...
and he said it more than once.
I knew I could find fresh rhubarb (we have Farmer's markets here in Santa Barbara six days a week) and on Saturday there is a Fisherman's market where you can buy fish right off the boat so I was excited to give this a try. I bought a bundle of rhubarb and some fresh local swordfish.
I think never having tried rhubarb was a good thing since I didn't have any preconceived notions as to how this would taste.
I chopped up the rhubarb and gave it a taste. Hmmm... sour, citrusy celery. OK.
I caramelized the sugar and then added the rhubarb, onion, Thai chili and let it cook into a sauce. Then I stirred in the black pepper and the lime juice and gave it a taste. WHOA was my reaction. This was so sour and tart. I knew an ingredient was missing from my Vietnamese cooking so I added about a Tablespoon of fish sauce. That really helped and then about 2 teaspoons more sugar and the balance was right.
I added the swordfish and cooked it for about 5 minutes more, served it over Farro and garnished it with cilantro and sliced scallions.
I suspected this would need to be served over something really hearty so that was why I chose Farro. If you have never had Farro think barley on steroids. The Farro was the perfect base for this sweet*sour*salty* spicy* meal. It would not have been nearly as good if it was not over Farro.
Mr. "OH GAWD" had seconds :)
Thanks Camilla! It was a fun choice.