The two Rs of spring–ramps and rhubarb–came and went but I was fast enough to get my yield in this year. With the ramps, I pickled and sautéed; with the rhubarb, I made dessert and this sauce. I was craving fish after an hour-long workout in the pool and I ended up taking home a whole branzino with me. (From Whole Foods, not the pool.) In the end, it was the wrong fish to match with this sauce because branzino is so rich that it doesn’t really need any help to taste good.
The next day, I served this rhubarb sauce with fried and breaded tilapia fillet and together, they made the perfect match. A little tangy and a little sweet, it gave life to an otherwise plain white fish.
Update: Cameron alerted me to a Jamie Oliver recipe using pork belly with rhubarb sauce. So I browned some cubed pork belly and braised them in rhubarb sauce for about 1 hour at 350º.
6 pieces of rhubarb, chopped in half-inch pieces
a small knob of ginger, peeled, minced, chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
a pinch of whole cloves
1 star anise
1. Place rhubarb, 1/4 cup water and ginger in a small saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes and set aside.
2. In another pan, combine sugar and cider vinegar with 2 cups water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the onion. Cook for 2 minutes. Drain to discard the onions. Remove cinnamon, cloves and anise. Add this mixture to the rhubarb. Season with salt and pepper.