Confit Salmon with Rhubarb. An Unexpected Marriage.

I‘ve been playing around with rhubarb lately, experimenting with ways to use it; not as a dessert, but as the vegetable it really is. I love my rhubarb curd, (recipe under Little Things), and stewed rhubarb with fresh ginger and orange zest… yum, and rhubarb crumble… The list goes on and on. Well, I happened upon a recipe in Yotham Ottolenghi’s latest book, Plenty More. This recipe was for a salad combining beetroot, rhubarb and gorgonzola cheese with a maple syrup, pomegranate molasses and sherry vinegar dressing. And although it sounded delicious, it really wasn’t quite where I was heading. I wanted to use the beautiful rhubarb with pencil leeks and spring onions that all came from Moonacres Farm, together with two beautiful pieces of salmon, which I intended to confit.

As it turned out, I ended up having a lot of fun with this recipe, whilst still managing to achieve an excellent result. And although my family were at first dubious, they were, as I was, completely blown away by this stunning combination. The tangy flavour working brilliantly with the richness of the salmon, making it slightly ‘agrodolce’.  Try it: and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.

Firstly I made Thomas Keller’s ‘green salt’ to lightly confit the salmon.

  • 1 cup course salt
  • 2 fresh bay leaves, torn into pieces
  • 2tbsp thyme leaves
  • ½ cup parsley leaves
  • 1tsp black peppercorns

Put all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until the consistency is fine, and the colour is bright green. You will need only 3tbsp of the salt for this dish, it keeps for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

4 pieces skinless salmon fillets, weighing 150g each

1tbsp olive oil for cooking the salmon

Rub the salmon with only 3tbsp of the green salt, place in a glass container, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour only. After 1 hour, take out of fridge, wash off salt, and dry on kitchen paper.       

  • 300g rhubarb cut into 10cm long pieces, and cut in half lengthways if they happen to be thick stalks
  • 2 pencil leeks each
  • 2 spring onions each
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1tbsp castor sugar
  • 2tsp sherry vinegar
  • ¾ tbsp. pomegranate molasses
  • 2tbsp maple syrup
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • Tarragon and parsley sprigs to serve

Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Place rhubarb on one side of the tray and sprinkle with the castor sugar. Place leeks and spring onions on the other side of the tray and scatter the thinly sliced onions over all. Mix together the sherry vinegar, pomegranate molasses, maple syrup and olive oil and drizzle over rhubarb, leeks, spring onions and red onion. Place in the hot oven for between 6-8 minutes, rhubarb should be just cooked. Remove from oven, set aside and turn down oven to 170C. Now, heat a medium sized fry pan over a medium heat, add 1tbsp olive oil and gently seal the salmon fillets on both sides, then put into the oven on a baking sheet lined with paper and cook for 5-8 minutes until just cooked.

Served on a bed of crushed new potatoes with the rhubarb, leeks, spring onions and wedges of lemon or lime and scatter with tarragon and parsley sprigs.