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.
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.
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!
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