Though it boasts a terrific firm texture and a beautiful snow-white color, I have occasionally found halibut a little bland. Elusive childhood memories of halibut-cheek kebabs at the Southeast Alaska State Fair — hot and juicy and dripping with lemon and the soft heat of black pepper — are rarely matched by the good-but-not-earth-shattering halibut we usually get down here in the Pacific Northwest.
Whatever halibut you can get your hands on, this chutney is the perfect complement for its delicate, sweet flavor. Springy, astringent rhubarb is anchored by the dark fruity richness of the figs, and the spices are present without being overbearing. I especially like the contrast of the meaty, slightly chewy texture of the halibut with the soft and gently aromatic chutney.
Leftover chutney is good on turkey sandwiches and chicken breasts.
| ||2 || whole green cardamom pods |
| ||½ || star anise pod |
| ||1 || whole clove |
| ||1 || pinch toasted cumin seeds (powdered cumin can be used instead, and added directly to the chutney) |
| ||1 || dried red chile, or a pinch of red-pepper flakes |
| ||~ || A 1-inch section of cinnamon stick |
| ||1 || small peeled and crushed garlic clove |
| ||¼ || cup sugar |
| ||3 || Tbsp. apple-cider vinegar or other fruit vinegar (raspberry vinegar would be delicious here) |
| ||12 || oz. rhubarb, chopped (about 2 cups) |
| ||1 || large shallot, minced |
| ||4 || dried figs, minced |
| ||~ || Salt and pepper |