A Spring Fling! Roasted Cod and Sugar Snaps with Rhubarb Sauce

Spring treasurers unite for a memorable meal!

Spring in Vermont means lots of delicious happenings, including vibrant red rhubarb, and delectable sugar snap peas bursting with freshness. Combine these wonderful ingredients with locally grown shiitake mushrooms and sweet Atlantic cod, and you’ve got a winning dish.

Not for everyone

Rhubarb is one of my favorites, but my husband doesn’t care for it at all, so transforming it into a sauce he doesn’t have to eat is perfect in our home. Often, we see rhubarb combined with strawberries, another treasure of the season, but it is also delightful in savory preparations, adding a tang that tastes like nothing else! This is how my mom made her rhubarb sauce, and so it’s how I make it as well, with the little addition of the anise seeds. It sort of looks like applesauce, but tastes much more tart.

A hardy perennial plant

Rhubarb is a perennial plant, and you use the stalks only. This is one time I will tell you NOT to use the leaves as well because they will make you quite sick. But the stalks can be eaten raw with a little salt, or cooked in either sweet or savory dishes, your choice.

Gather the best right now, enjoy, and save some for later

It’s rhubarb season, so gather some now, chop it up, freeze it on a tray and once frozen, place in a container to freeze. You’ll thank yourself when you make strawberry rhubarb pie at Christmas! The strawberries, of course, are abundant right now locally, so save some of those too for the winter pie!

Substitute another white fish if you like, or swap out the seasonal vegetables. This is quick to make, easy like a sheet-pan supper, but festive enough for company. Either way, it’s very satisfying!

Roasted Cod and Sugar Snaps with Rhubarb Sauce

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter or vegan butter
  • 1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp. crushed anise seeds
  • ½ dry white wine
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 lb. rhubarb, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dark maple syrup
  • Sea salt
  • 1 lb. thick cut Atlantic cod
  • 1 tbsp. more olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. more maple syrup
  • ½ lb. sugar snap peas
  • 4 oz. shiitake mushrooms
  • Zest of an orange

            Prep the vegetables: Slice the rhubarb in half lengthwise and chop. Slice the onion, pole to pole. Crush the seeds with a mortar and pestle, or the back of a heavy pan. Remove the strings from the snap peas, and the stems from the mushrooms. Cut them any way you like.

            Heat a large skillet over medium high and add the oil and butter. Once the butter is bubbly, add the onion and anise seeds and sauté until they are softened, starting to brown, and have glazed the pan. Deglaze with the wine and juice.

Ready for the wine and juice.

            Add the rhubarb and maple syrup, sprinkle in a little salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the rhubarb has softened and lost its shape. This should take about 20 minutes, depending on the firmness of your rhubarb, and it will look like applesauce with a bit of texture still. Taste, and correct the seasoning. You might like it a little sweeter, you might need to add salt.

Rhubarb sauce can be used on just about any protein!

            While the sauce is simmering, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix the olive oil and maple syrup together. Season both sides of the cod with salt and pepper, paint with the maple mixture. Grease a roasting pan and add the cod, the sugar snaps, and the mushrooms, and drizzle olive oil over all. Bake for about 15 minutes. You want to cook this just to the point of starting to crack or flake, a knife inserted into the thickest part will meet no resistance.

            Prepare a bed of the peas and mushrooms, add the cod and drizzle with the sauce. Finish with the zest. I used my last blood orange, but you can also substitute a lemon. Toss on a few edible flowers, and you’re ready for a celebration!

Beautiful ruby stems of the rhubarb!

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69 Comments Add yours

  1. CarolCooks2 says:

    Rhubarb is one of my favourites not something I can get here unfortunately but if I ever do I will remember this sauce that sounds a lovely accomplement to the fish 🙂

    1. Oh, I would be sad without rhubarb too! Maybe there is a tropical twin?

      1. CarolCooks2 says:

        Sadly as it needs a littlef frost it doesn’t thrive well in tropical climes I remember years ago when I first came here I found some but it was forced and picked too soon the same happens here with apricots trhey are not allowed to ripen but picked green and often then salted…I’m goimg to the Uk next week and it on my list to try and bring some fresh rhubarb back and gooseberries if I can get them 🙂

      2. Good luck Carol!

  2. Ally Bean says:

    I like all three main ingredients in this recipe. Rhubarb is difficult to find here, though. I don’t know why, other than it is kind of old-fashioned.

    1. It is kind of old fashioned, and I’m sure lots of folks think it is a weed, I guess because it looks like one!

  3. Looking good! We potted up rhubarb for our plant sale, and I thought it would go fast. It didn’t. I guess younger gardeners aren’t into it as much as seasoned gardeners. I remember as a child at my grandparent’s farm, I’d go visit a cousin in town. Her mom would give us each a small cup with sugar, we’d cut a stalk, dip it and eat as we walked around. Lots of scrunched up faces from the tartness, but we had fun.

    1. My mom did the same thing Judy, only she ate hers with a dip in salt! I still like it that way, and I still scrunch up my face. But I go in for another bite…

  4. Chef Mimi says:

    Yum!!! This looks wonderful and I can only imagine how good it all tastes together!

    1. Thank you! It was really delightful Mimi. The pan drippings from the maple syrup, olive oil, and fish flavored everything slightly and it was a beautiful combinatin, especially with the sauce!

  5. NativeNM says:

    Looks wonderful! I’m a big rhubarb fan so this is something I would love!

    1. It has such a unique flavor! Thanks for stopping by! I’ll save you a stalk or two.

  6. Beautiful tasty looking dish!
    I’ve made savory rhubarb sauces over the years, but never combined them with sauteed onions. I love the idea! Will give it a try soon. 🙂

    1. Thanks Ronit. The onions help to balance it all out!

  7. Jessica says:

    Hi. New here. I grew up on rhubarb in Iowa- my grandma used it a lot. I didn’t know it could be used in sauce. I’ll have to try that.

    1. Welcome Jessica! Sounds like you have some lovely rhubarb memories! Use in savory, it lends a most unique flavor, and the expected sour!

      1. Jessica says:

        Thank you very much! Ah, yes, the expected sour! That made me smile!!

  8. nancyc says:

    This looks like a wonderful spring meal, Dorothy–and I absolutely adore sugar snap peas! The rhubarb sauce sounds great, too!

    1. The sugar snaps are so sweet and delicious this year! I think I’ll be eating a lot of them the next few weeks!

  9. Nancy says:

    Oh this is right up my alley. I am saving this recipe.
    We have rhubarb growing in the garden and I’ll be baking a rhubarb crisp or pie! Can’t wait!

    1. Love rhubarb crisp too! When I make a big batch for potlucks, it always disappears!

  10. terrie gura says:

    My grandmother always had rhubarb growing out back, and she made a sweetened dessert sauce with it that I loved better than applesauce. I agree, it does impress in a savory dish. Yours sounds delish!

    1. Thank you Terrie! I think everyone around these parts has memories of rhubarb growing by someone’s house, and the delights made with it in the spring. My grandson’s favorite dessert is strawberry rhubarb pie, so I make sure to have plenty in the freezer for those special days!

  11. What an interesting combination of flavors and textures! I love rhubarb too! My grandma used to do rhubarb compote! Was super delicious 😋

    1. Thank you Ribana! I love the sound of a rhubarb compote. Such an unusual and delightful flavor.

  12. Bernadette says:

    One of my favorite ways to prepare cod is with a citrus based sauce, so I will be definitely trying your rhubarb recipe.

    1. Thanks Bernadette! The cod really benefits from a little sour, and a little sweet!

  13. Velva says:

    Hi Dorothy, This is really good recipe. Love the combination of flavors.

    Living in Florida, I can only imagine how delightful a Vermont summer would be-


    1. Well, it gets pretty hot and humid here, so images of light summer breeze in the trees is not exactly accurate for a good part of summer! Luckily, we have nice swimming holes!

  14. Carolyn Page says:

    I’m loving the sound of that sauce, Dorothy. I also remember my mum’s rhubarb pie. She wasn’t a very creative cook, but some of her dishes were quite memorable.
    I’ll tuck this recipe away for another day.

    1. Rhubarb pie, such a special memory for me too. My mom loved rhubarb and couldn’t wait for the season!

  15. Jenna says:

    So smart to make a sauce with rhubarb so you can both enjoy this meal!

    1. Thanks! I made a cake once with the rhubarb and he tasted it and said it was good, but he didn’t eat any more of it!

  16. JOY journal says:

    Rhubarb! Yes, please.

    1. I’ll save you a few stalks!

  17. Americaoncoffee says:

    Absolutely delicious looking! I am hungry💗🍽!

    1. There’s plenty my friend, pull up a chair!

  18. I have never used rhubarb in a savoury dish but will change that as we eat a lot of fish.. looks amazing Dorothy and thanks for the recipe..hugsx

    1. Thank you! It’s so delicious in a savory application. Love the sour!

  19. This reminds me–I have rhubarb that’s ready to pick!

    1. Well, sounds like a perfect day to think spring!

      1. Indeed it is!

  20. This sounds amazing, Dorothy. Rhubarb isn’t something I enjoyed as a kid, but my tastes are so much broader now, and I love surprising combinations. I’ll definitely give this one a try. 🙂

    1. Thank you! It’s funny how our tastes change. I keep hoping one of these days I’ll like cilantro, but I’m not holding my breath!

      1. Ha ha ha. What? You don’t like cilantro? Lol. It is a strong flavor. I don’t think I’ll ever like lima beans. The texture made me gag as a kid. 😀

      2. Cilantro tastes like soap to me, and I’m told it is a genetic thing. I’ve tried, but sometimes I feel a littler ill just smelling it!
        I’ll eat lima beans, but unless they are really small they tend to be dry tasting to me too.

      3. How fascinating. I have a grandson with a really sensitive palate. I’ve learned that a lot of it is genetic… not just him being a picky eater.

  21. dgkaye says:

    Love the fish recipe Dorothy. Unfortunately, I have never developed taste buds for rhubarb. 🙂

    1. My husband either, but I love it, so I keep it segregated from the other foods!

  22. Dorothy I am a rhubarb lover like you, but it is so warm so early here in Middle Tennessee that it comes and goes very quickly. Your recipe would be a great way to save for later. I will try it and freeze in jars. Love the tart, sweetness of Rhubarb.

    1. Thank you Teresa. Rhubarb is such a unique, and fleeting, ingredient. We enjoy it while it’s best, and save what we can for later!

  23. Michael says:

    I also love rhubarb, but know it only from deserts, made from it.;-) With your recipe i will make new experiences. Thanks a lot, Dorothy! Best wishes, Michael

  24. Julia says:

    I miss having my own rhubarb plants. The rhubarb sauce sounds delicious.

    1. Thank you Julia! Maybe you can find some at a local farmers market?

      1. Julia says:

        I will be looking the next time I see a farmers market.

      2. Happy hunting! 🔍

      3. Julia says:

        Thank you!

  25. That looks delicious I love rhubarb !

    1. Thank you! It’s such a delicious vegetable/fruit!

  26. I’m love rhubarb sauce. What an interesting flavor to use on fish Dorothy. I would never have thought of that. What a beautiful plate of food.

    1. Fish loves a sour, so why not the rhubarb?

  27. Christy B says:

    Like you, I love rhubarb! My mom makes an amazing rhubarb strawberry pie 😀

    1. That is my grandson’s absolute favorite dessert, which is why I tuck some rhubarb in the freezer marked “Austin’s Thanksgiving Rhubarb” because you can’t even find it frozen in the stores then!

  28. Leah says:

    Thank you for the rhubard lesson on how to prepare it. I have not tried cooking it as I am intimidated. I had mostly rhubard strawberry pie and I liked it. I will try to make the sauce next time using your recipe!

    1. Thank you! Strawberry rhubarb pie is the standard, isn’t it? And rightly so, it is so delicious and so unique in flavor!

      1. Leah says:

        Strawberry rhubarb is definitely a pair and a delicious one. I need to venture out now that I learned from you how to prepare rhubarb! Thank you for teaching us new things! 🙂

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