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Big Kitchen Recipes - Warm rhubarb and smoked mackerel salad

In the first of our monthly series of seasonal recipes, Parham’s chef Neil has created a zingy salad using rhubarb. This is a very easy dish to make and all the ingredients, even in these difficult times, should be readily available. Being gluten-free it is also healthy, coming in at about 300 calories, and will help those suffering from diabetes.

Cooking with seasonal fruit and vegetables typically rewards you with the best flavour and quality. Rhubarb is the exception: it’s the ‘forced’, out-of-season variety that will give your kitchen a rosier glow. Depriving rhubarb of light makes the stems shoot upwards, searching for light, which makes for a more succulent-tasting product. Unlike sturdier outdoor-grown stalks, delicate forced rhubarb has an elegant sourness that needs only very light cooking – but it does need tempering with sweetness.

8th April 2020

Warm rhubarb and smoked mackerel salad


400g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 3cm lengths

½ tsp allspice

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

½ orange, zested and juiced

1 tsp light brown sugar

1 tbsp olive oil

80g of mixed watercress, spinach and rocket leaves

½ cucumber, diced

250g smoked mackerel, skin removed, flaked into pieces

For the dressing

100g half-fat crème fraîche

1 tbsp creamed horseradish (or fresh if possible)

To serve

pickled ginger (optional)


Preheat oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Put the rhubarb in a roasting tin with the allspice, pepper, orange zest and juice, sugar and oil. Mix well. Roast for 10-12 mins, until the rhubarb is just tender but still holds its shape. Remove and cool.

Whisk the dressing ingredients with 1 tbsp water and any extra juices from the cooked rhubarb tray.

Divide the salad leaves, cucumber, mackerel and roasted rhubarb between 4 plates and drizzle over the dressing. Serve with the pickled ginger.


If you are lucky enough to be able to get fresh mackerel, then simply pan fry the fillets instead. Young rhubarb can be cut into small matchsticks, and added to some sliced fennel and radish.  Toss in some lemon juice and olive oil (add sugar to taste) to make a quick and vibrant slaw.