Recipe: Fish With Sephardic Tomato & Rhubarb Sauce

Posted By on February 23, 2018

Fish With Sephardic Tomato & Rhubarb Sauce

Serves 6

With rhubarb just hitting the markets, this dish is perfect for the Passover table. According to The New Mediterranean Jewish Table, by Joyce Goldstein, the dish can be traced back to Sephardic homes in Greece and Turkey. The sauce has sweet-and-sour notes to brighten the fish, and Goldstein suggests serving it with spinach and potatoes.

Rhubarb sauce

1 pounds rhubarb

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or 3 cups chopped, seeded canned tomatoes

1 cup dry red wine

1 to 2 tablespoons honey

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (optional)

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Court bouillon

4 cups water

1 cup dry white wine

1 large yellow onion, sliced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 ribs celery with leaves attached, and/or 2 large slices celery root, peeled

3 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs

10 to 12 black peppercorns

3 lemon slices

Few fresh ginger slices (optional)

2 pounds firm fish fillets, such as cod, sea flounder, bass or salmon

To make the rhubarb sauce: Clean the rhubarb stalks by pulling off the heavy filaments, much as you would string celery, then cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Place the pieces in a saucepan, add water to barely cover (about 3 cups), and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the rhubarb has melted into a puree and is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. (If you want some crunch in the sauce, set aside some of the rhubarb pieces after a few minutes of cooking, then return them to the sauce when it is ready.)

Warm the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are reduced to a thick sauce, about 15 minutes. Add the wine, 1 tablespoon of the honey, and the lemon zest and juice, if using, and stir well. Add the tomato sauce to the rhubarb puree, or vice versa, and mix well. Simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce is thick and rich, about 20 minutes. Season with the cinnamon, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the sweet-and-sour balance, add a bit more honey if needed. Cover and keep warm, off the heat.

To make the court bouillon: In a fish poacher or roasting pan, combine all of the ingredients for the court bouillon (do not include the fish). Bring to a boil over high heat, turn down the heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes.

To make the fish: Measure the thickness of the fillets at their widest point. Slip the fillets into the simmering liquid, cover, reduce the heat to very low so that bubbles barely break on the surface and poach until the fillets test done when the point of a knife is inserted into a fillet, about 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

Using a slotted spatula, carefully transfer the fillets to a platter or individual plates. Reheat the sauce gently, then spoon some of the sauce over the fish and serve warm. Pass the remaining sauce at the table.

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Recipe: Fish With Sephardic Tomato & Rhubarb Sauce

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