Playing Catchup (or some condiment, anyway)

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.


Paula Marcoux, author of Cooking With Fire.

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.

Cheese Bar

Cheese Bar

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.

Spreads for Cheese and Bread

Spreads for Cheese and Bread

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.


Toasting Cheese.

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.

Cooking With Fire

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  


About eSS&SC

The South Shore and South Coast has been home to hunting, gathering, fishing, farming––and great eating––for over 10,000 years. We are committed to identifying, devouring, and sharing all that Southeastern Massachusetts has to offer today and preserving local options for future generations.
This entry was posted in recipe. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Playing Catchup (or some condiment, anyway)

  1. skoul says:

    Reblogged this on Curries without Worries and commented:
    Good to Read about the little book that could! Thanks Paula Marcoux!

  2. Martha M. Stone says:

    Paula is amazing. I happen to have all of the ingredients on hand. I am going to make this today and I may also find a way to turn this into a refreshing iced beverage for the summer. I will likely reduce the amount of oil. I do like to dry roast the spices, the aromatics are intoxicating.

Talk to us. Please leave your comments here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s