Baked rhubarb with sashimi & a beer-battered oyster

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Preparation info

  • For

    4

    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Fusion: A Culinary Journey

Fusion

By Peter Gordon

Published 2010

  • About

It may seem a little odd to serve rhubarb, usually associated with desserts, with fish, but the combination works surprisingly well. I’ve read old British cookbooks which mention the combination of mackerel and gooseberries, so this really is just a contemporary reworking of a classic dish. The sourness of the rhubarb works well with oily fish like salmon, mackerel or tuna but it also goes well with elegant but firm fish like the halibut I used in the photo. The crispy oyster works a treat too - that wonderful combination of crunch and gooey centre. What is important is that the rhubarb is served at room temperature, the fish needs to be icy cold, and the oyster piping hot! If you can’t get hold of any verjus then use a mixture of equal quantities of lemon juice and water.

Ingredients

  • 200 g rhubarb, washed then cut into 6-cm lengths
  • ½ thumb of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (or use candied or sushi ginger)
  • 150 g caster sugar, plus 1 tsp for the batter
  • 120 ml verjus (sometimes spelled ‘verjuice’)
  • 40 g flour
  • 20 g cornflour, plus a little extra for dusting the oysters
  • 8 g (1 Tbsp) baking powder
  • 100 ml beer
  • 250 g fish fillet, all bones and skin removed - it must be perfectly fresh and chilled
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 4 oysters, removed from the shell
  • a small handful of cress or sprouts
  • light soy sauce, to be served separately

Method

Preheat oven to 160°C. First bake the rhubarb-this can be made up to 5 days in advance if kept covered in the fridge. Choose a non-reactive roasting dish that will be just large enough to hold the rhubarb in one layer. Place the ginger on the bottom, cover with the rhubarb, then sprinkle with the sugar. Drizzle over the verjus then bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until you can just squeeze the rhubarb between your fingers-if you overcook it will go mushy. Leave it to cool in its juices in the roasting tray then place in the fridge.

Make the batter by sieving the flours, baking powder, 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon fine salt together. Slowly pour in the beer, whisking continually to avoid lumps, to form a smooth batter then set aside for 5 minutes.

Slice the fish into 8-12 pieces, then place on a chilled plate and keep in the fridge until you need them.

When you’re almost ready, take the rhubarb from the fridge and divide it amongst four plates along with some of its cooking juice. Heat 4 cm of oil in small pot to 180°C. Dust the oysters with the reserved cornflour as this helps the batter to stick. Give the batter a quick stir, then add the oysters to it. Using a fork or a pair of tongs, carefully lower the oysters into the hot oil, making sure you keep them apart, and cook until crispy, flipping over after 12 seconds. They’ll need no more than 20-25 seconds all up. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

To Serve

Lay the fish across the rhubarb, tuck in some cress and sit an oyster on top. Serve with a small jug of soy sauce on the side.