Don’t let rhubarb season go by without trying this recipe. It’s a dynamite flavor sensation – sweet and savory with a nice kick from the jalapeno. It was almost overkill to pair it with this wild Alaskan Copper River Sockeye Salmon because the salmon was so terrific all by itself. Look at that dark, natural pink color and how moist it stayed, even after grilling. A little squirt of lemon was all it really needed.
But I’ve made this rhubarb relish in the past and didn’t want to miss out on the season without making it this year too. I already had the salmon planned for dinner and it was wonderful with the rhubarb relish. The relish would really play up a less flavorful fish even better – say a cod, or even tilapia. It’s also great with meat – whether pork chops, chicken or a steak.
The rhubarb came from a friend’s garden and it didn’t have as much red color as I would have liked. In fact, it looked downright drab after I cooked it. So I threw in a quarter of a red pepper to give it some color. This is not the kind of recipe that you have to follow to the letter. If you don’t enough of one ingredient, or you’d like a heavier accent on any one of the ingredients, decrease or increase the proportions to your liking. Be careful of the jalapeno though. Too much and you’ll be drinking more water than a parched sailor.
I served it with grilled asparagus and brown rice. Directions on grilling the salmon and asparagus follow the rhubarb relish recipe.
about 1/3 pound of rhubarb
1/3 cup sugar
grated rind of one orange
juice of one orange
1 jalapeno pepper
1/4 tsp. grated ginger
1/4 of a red pepper, diced (optional)
Chop the rhubarb into pieces about 1/2 inch to 1 inch long. Put rhubarb into a pot with all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until thick. Cool and serve.
There are lots of ways to grill salmon, and this is only one of them. Maybe you’ve got a different method, but this works for me. First of all, let me say that salmon is a fatty fish – rich in omega 3 fatty acids that are good for you. But it will flare up over direct heat.
I use aluminum foil and put skin side down. I splashed it with some soy sauce, a little minced garlic, some grated ginger and minced thyme (my everything herb). Once the grill was good and hot, I put down the salmon on the grill and closed the lid. Make sure you don’t go far because it can catch fire even with the foil barrier. (speaking from experience, unfortunately)
Check it every five minutes or so and after about 15 minutes, it’s almost done. Don’t overcook it. It should have some spring when you push into it with your finger. If it’s too cooked, it will be like pushing into a hard rubber ball. And it will taste dry.
Naturally, the skin side gets hotter since it’s closer to the heat and it will stick to the foil, which is good. I don’t like eating the skin anyway and with the skin attaching itself to the foil, you’ll be able to separate the flesh easily using a spatula. If you’re brave and want to try flipping it on another, clean piece of aluminum foil to get some grill marks, go for it. But don’t say I didn’t warn you if pieces flake off and fall between the grates.
You can get this going while you’ve got the salmon on the other side of the grill. Just take a piece of aluminum foil, double it up and crimp the edges.
Peel your asparagus using a vegetable peeler. (sorry but I always do this. It doesn’t take that long and you never have to bite into a stringy stalk.) Place the stalks on the foil and toss with a splash of olive oil, salt, garlic and freshly chopped thyme. (yes, thyme again)
Place the foil on top of the hot grates and cover the grill with the lid. Let the asparagus cook a few minutes, then lift the lid and rotate the asparagus. Cook for a few more minutes, then remove and eat.