Rhubarb is an interesting vegetable. It is a close relative to garden sorrel and in relation carries an intense vegetal sour quality. Yet rhubarb is happily tamed with spices, sugars and herbs. I enjoy the the cleansing character which rhubarb has and because of this we use more often as vegetable balanced with the aforementioned adulterants.
Most recently we marinated rhubarb in elderflower syrup and then cooked it gently to allow the flavors to blend while keeping the structure of the rhubarb intact. Once the rhubarb was cooked we began to work on several dishes which would benefit from the rhubarb.
We came across some pristine diver scallops at the market and they became the first counterparts to the rhubarb. In fact, we used similar ingredients in two dishes one hot, one cold. Again we began with our pre-cooked scallops. I say pre-cooked because that is what we do. I have written about the process (Twice Cooked Scallops) and we have found this is a great starting point for hot or cold dishes. However, I made a slight alteration in how we set the scallops. Here I arranged the scallops toes to nose (so to speak) and then rolled that as a log which we then vacuum sealed and cooked for thirty minutes at 49 degrees C. This arrangement of the scallops enabled us to retain a greater scallop look and also a slightly firmer texture.
Once the scallops were chilled we began with the dishes. Same components: rhubarb, celery relish, chives, salt--the cold dish had olive oil, the hot browned butter. The texture of the chilled scallop was silky smooth and tasted of the sea. The twice cooked scallop was warm and buttery with a firmness that gave way beneath the pressure of a fork. The rhubarb added sweet acidity to the dish with floral notes coming from the infusion of elderflower. The celery relish added crunch and a touch of spice (we marinated the celery in a mustard fruit syrup).