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In May, thousands of grilling enthusiasts gathered in Chicago's Lincoln Park for two days of grilling demonstrations, tastings, and more at the first-ever Better Homes and Gardens and Weber Chill and Grill Festival.
Restaurateur and Top Chef alum Stephanie Izard showed off three fresh recipes made of rhubarb, one of her springtime favorites. "My goal is to make your whole mouth happy," she says.
Quick-pickled rhubarb adds bright flavor to a simple salad. When it comes to the differences in rhubarb color and flavor, "Bright pink is prettier, but the flavor is the same," Stephanie says.
Pink peppercorns lend a floral note to the pickling liquid.
Bring the pickling mixture to a boil, and then pour the hot liquid over the sliced rhubarb. As the liquid cools to room temperature, the rhubarb will become slightly tender. Strain the liquid from the rhubarb, reserving both.
Stephanie shaves raw asparagus to lend even more freshness to the salad. One way to boost the flavor is to grill the asparagus first. Place the spears horizontally across hot, oiled grill grates and grill until tender, 5 to 7 minutes, turning once or twice. "Fatter asparagus is a little bit sweeter," Stephanie says.
Sprinkle in crunchy sliced almonds. Toss the salad with a quick, flavorful dressing. Whisk together 1 cup of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the reserved pickling liquid to pull out even more rhubarb flavor.
Trim off some of the belly and remove the skin. Slide the knife between the flesh and the skin, and slowly glide the knife along the length of the fish to separate the skin from the meat before grilling (skip this step if you prefer to grill your salmon with the skin on).
Cut the salmon into individual portions, and then season with olive oil, pepper, and salt. "I use Morton's kosher salt," Stephanie says. "It's easier to season with something you're used to." Heat the grill to 500 degrees F, and then add the salmon. Close the grill when cooking the salmon so the heat stays in.
Stir your favorite olives into the agrodolce mixture. Stephanie says black olives, such as Kalamata olives, work best because they add a bold, salty bite.
Cook the mixture until it begins to break down and reduces by half, then let it cool to room temperature. Top the grilled salmon with the agrodolce sauce.