Did you read the title twice? Be honest. Yes, I am pairing rhubarb with cod on the blog Rhubarb and Cod. That has to be meta or something. So what are you looking at here? Well, these are Crispy Cod Sandwiches that are topped with shaved red cabbage and cucumber and slathered with tartar sauce flecked with minced pickled rhubarb. The cod is enrobed in a crisp beer batter and the rhubarb is pickled in a vinegar solution flavored with ginger, star anise, and coriander seeds. The result is a totally captivating sandwich that I promise doesn’t taste strange in the least. In fact, I would go so far as to call it downright delicious. So let’s dive in!
This dish is a gentle and delicious rebuttal to all the people who’ve clamored to tell me my blog name is gross. To be fair, most people aren’t harsh about it. They usually say something along the line of “Rhubarb and Cod? But not like together, right?!” immediately followed by some overly enthusiastic keyboard laughter. Now, to be clear, I didn’t name my blog Rhubarb and Cod because I thought they were a match made in heaven. I simply chose two ingredients that were a big part of my childhood on the East Coast of Canada. But whenever I’m met with a cringe reaction to my blog’s name, I think to myself there is no earthly reason the two couldn’t interact on the same plate. I swear some people have no imagination.
It’s not that I don’t have a sense of humor about the name or I can’t take a joke. Trust me, self-depreciation is the only language other than English I’m fluent in. And honestly, when it comes to English, somedays it’s touch-and-go. What bothers me is the commenter’s limited idea of what an acceptable flavor pairing is. This suggests that the person has a very cut and dry perception of food and cooking in general. And I kind of find that depressing.
The world of food is so vast and varied. The ingredients we have at our disposal each come with their own unique possibilities. And the potential combinations are quite frankly infinite. To not be awake to that, or to think that food has a right or a wrong is so limiting. And I don’t want people to feel limited by food because I don’t and it’s a wonderful feeling that I want them to share. So with that in mind, I crafted a recipe that features two ingredients that a portion of the Internet agrees should not be together. Allow me to introduce you to these Crispy Cod Sandwiches with Rhubarb Tartar Sauce.
These sandwiches start a whole day in advance. Yes, I know, a sandwich that takes two days to make. If this is shocking to you, you must be new here. But honestly, your job on day one is far from back-breaking. All you have to do is pickle some rhubarb. And we’re not even going to water bath seal jars or anything like that. This is a quick pickle. So all you have to do is pack some rhubarb into a jar, bring a pickling solution to a boil on the stove, and pour the stuff over said rhubarb. Then let the jar cool on the counter before transferring it to the fridge. Once it’s there, do nothing to it for 24 hours.
The next day, it’s time to roll up those sleeves. First things first, we’re going to give that rhubarb a fine dice and mix it into a tasty tartar sauce before prepping the sandwich toppings. I like to get all the fixings for a fried fish sandwich ready before I even take the fish out of the fridge. Fish, once it’s freshly fried, has a tendency to sog out. So when that fish emerges from the oil, you’ve got to have the bun at the ready.
Once everything for the Crispy Cod Sandwiches is good to go, it’s finally time to work on the fish. Season the fish with salt and toss it in equal parts flour and cornstarch. In another bowl mix flour, baking powder, and finally a very cold beer. Like hard-not-to-drink-it cold beer. Then dip your fish and toss it immediately into the hot oil. It’s best to get your oil where you want it before you introduce the beer to your batter. Once the beer hits the baking powder, you’re on the clock. Once the fish is golden, take it out of the oil and set it aside to drain for about 5 minutes. Don’t let it sit for longer than 5 minutes. You will only know regret. From here, it’s as simple as building a sandwich because that’s exactly what you’re going to do.
So that’s everything you need to know about these Crispy Cod Sandwiches with Rhubarb Tartar Sauce. A quirky flavor pairing, for sure. But trust me, there is nothing gross about them.
Crispy Cod Sandwiches with Rhubarb Tartar Sauce
- 1 heavy bottom pot
- 1 Large mason jar
- 1 small saucepan
- 300g (10.5oz) fresh rhubarb stalks halved lengthwise
- 1 (2-inch) knob ginger sliced
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 cups red wine vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 4 star anise pods
Rhubarb Tartar Sauce
- 1 cup mayo
- ⅓ cup Pickled rhubarb finely diced
- ¼ cup fresh dill finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Crispy Cod Sandwiches with Rhubarb Tartar Sauce
- 2 cod fillets cut in half
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour divided
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 4-6 cups neutral oil for frying
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1¼ cup cold beer I used a lager
- ¼ head red cabbage shredded
- 2 mini cucumbers cut into ribbons
- 4 brioche burger buns toasted
- 1 batch Rhubarb Tartar Sauce see above
- Trim the rhubarb stalks to fit inside a 1 litre mason jar. Place the stalks in the jar with ginger and bay leaves.300g (10.5oz) fresh rhubarb stalks, 1 (2-inch) knob ginger, 3 bay leaves
- Pour the vinegar into a small saucepan. Add the sugar, salt, coriander seeds, peppercorns, mustard seed, and star anise. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil until the sugar and salt dissolves.2 cups red wine vinegar, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp whole coriander seeds, 1 tsp black peppercorns, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 4 star anise pods
- Pour the vinegar mixture over the rhubarb and seal the jar. Give the jar a shake and let cool on the counter for 2 hours before transferring to the fridge and chilling overnight.
For the Tartar Sauce
- Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Cover and chill until ready to serve.1 cup mayo, ⅓ cup Pickled rhubarb, ¼ cup fresh dill, 1 clove garlic, 1 tbsp lemon juice
For the Sandwiches
- Pat the cod dry with a paper towel and season on all sides with salt. Set aside.2 cod fillets
- In a small shallow bowl, whisk to combine a 1/4 cup of the flour and a 1/4 cup of cornstarch. Roll the fillets in the flour mixture and set them aside.1¼ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ cup cornstarch
- Pour the oil into a large heavy bottom pot and place over high heat. Once the oil reaches 350°F, reduce the heat to keep the temperature somewhere in that ballpark. **4-6 cups neutral oil
- In a large bowl, whisk to combine the remaining flour and baking powder. Pour in the beer and whisk until smooth. Dip the cod in the batter and immediately transfer it to the oil. You may have to work in batches depending on the size of your pot. Fry until the fish is golden, this should take about 7-8 minutes. Transfer the fish to a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside to drain for 5 minutes.1¼ cup all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1¼ cup cold beer
- Spread a little of the tartar sauce on both the top and bottoms of the buns. Place a piece of fish on top of each bottom bun and top the fish with the shaved cabbage and a few pieces of cucumber. Place the top bun on top and serve immediately.¼ head red cabbage, 2 mini cucumbers, 4 brioche burger buns, 1 batch Rhubarb Tartar Sauce