As I was wandering through the mid-week farmers market (the best thing to happen to a workday Wednesday) something ruby red stuck my eye. Rhubarb of course, and this bunch was the pick of the season. Not only rich in color, glossy and smooth, these hearty stalks packed some heft!
A little Rub on Rhubarb:
All the slender pink stalks are considered a vegetable botanically (if they’re in the buckwheat family and related to sorrel), rhubarb tastes best cooked more like a fruit for compotes and pie fillings. It’s seldom eaten raw.
Rhubarb’s bracing tartness is delicious when tamed with sugar during cooking. and it can go sweet or savory–rhubarb tastes as good with braised vegetables and roasted meats as it does in a compote or a tart.
How to Buy
At the market, look for firm stalks that are glossy and smooth. Stalks of a medium thickness will have the best texture. Field-grown rhubarb appears in late spring is
Note: Rhubarb leaves are toxic and should be thrown away.
As I was heading out of the market I remembered a recent rhubarb spread recipe for Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote. It was fresh, delicious and full of that tart bite rhubarb is known for. I made my own changes and think it’s wonderful. Try it for yourself!
Vanilla Roasted Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes | Serves 4
- 4 rhubarb stalks (about 1 pound), trimmed, cut on a sharp diagonal into 2-inch pieces
- 12 large strawberries (about ½ pound), hulled and halved
- ¼ cup bourbon or water
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 4-inch piece of vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- Greek yogurt
- Agave nectar
- Fresh mint
Combine rhubarb, strawberries, bourbon, and sugar in a medium bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. Cut bean into 4 pieces and add to bowl; stir mixture until sugar begins to dissolve.
Place 2-4 16×12” sheets of parchment paper, or heavy-duty foil if grilling, on a work surface. Divide mixture evenly among sheets, arranging on one side of each sheet. Fold parchment over mixture and crimp edges tightly to form a sealed packet.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place packets on a small rimmed baking sheet. Alternatively build a medium fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Bake or grill packets until rhubarb is tender but not mushy (carefully open 1 packet to check; steam will escape), 10-12 minutes for thinner rhubarb, 14-16 minutes for thicker. Carefully cut open packets. Transfer mixture to bowls. Top with yogurt, agave nectar and mint.