by Paula Marcoux.
Thanks to the Plymouth Public Library for a truly fun Cooking with Fire book launch party last Saturday. I had a blast, anyway.
Apparently, lies were spread concerning the Rhubarb and Green Garlic Chutney served at the Toast-your-own-Cheese Bar, to the effect that its recipe is published in Cooking with Fire.
Untrue, I’m afraid. Those were just the ingredients I happened to be able to get from the great folks at Bay End Farm in Buzzards Bay, so early in this very late spring.
I promised I’d put the recipe out there for you somehow; so here it is:
Rhubarb and Green Garlic Chutney
This recipe started life as a mango pickle in the wonderful Curries without Worries, by Sudha Koul, but adapted really well to the materials at hand, we all thought. If you don’t have piles of fabulous green garlic like I did, substitute twelve peeled cloves of mature garlic, plus one bunch of scallions, trimmed and coarsely chopped.
1/2 cup whole cumin seeds
1/4 cup whole fenugreek seeds
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup peeled and chopped fresh ginger
6 whole stalks tender young garlic (see headnote), coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/4 cups organic sugar
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper or, better yet, hot New Mexico red chile
1 cup neutral oil, like canola or peanut
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb stalks coarsely chopped
Use a blender or food processor to grind the cumin and fenugreek seeds in the vinegar to a sloppy paste. If your processor blade is dull and old like mike, this can go on for a little while. No big deal if it’s still a bit chunky.
Add the ginger, green garlic, salt, sugar, and hot pepper. Purée.
Heat a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, and when it is wavy-looking, add the mixture quickly and carefully, looking out for spatters. Stir and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, inhaling deeply.
Add the rhubarb and cook, stirring, until rhubarb breaks down, about 5 minutes. Pack in jars and, once cool, store airtight in the fridge.
Makes maybe 5 cups.
Paula Marcoux is a food historian who has also worked professionally as an archaeologist, cook, and bread-oven builder. She is the Food Editor of edible South Shore & South Coast and author of Cooking with Fire, just released by Storey publishing. She lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and can be found online at www.themagnificentleaven.com.