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City Palate Recipe: 3 quick ways with green beans

6 Quick Ways with Rhubarb

May/Jun 2008
Ahhh, spring is here at last, and few foods tell of spring the way asparagus and rhubarb do. Fortunately, rhubarb thrives in our cold northern clime and practically anywhere it is plunked, including gravelly driveways! Some people recall their childhoods spent sitting on porches with a fresh stalk of rhubarb in hand and a bowl of sugar on the stoop. They claim to eat the rhubarb raw after dipping into the sugar. We don’t believe them, but we could be wrong. The following recipes require cooking the rhubarb. What you do with it on your own time is your business.

1. Baked Rhubarb Compote
From Chez Panisse Fruit

Baked rhubarb keeps its shape. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rinse and trim 1 pound rhubarb. Cut lengthwise into ½-inch strips, then crosswise into 2-inch pieces. You should have about 6 cups. Grate the zest of a plump orange into a shallow baking dish and squeeze in about 3 tablespoons of the juice. Add the rhubarb and ½ cup sugar. Toss to coat rhubarb with sugar, juice and zest. Cover and bake 25 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 10 minutes until a knife slides easily into the rhubarb. Serve warm or at room temp with vanilla ice cream, vanilla yogurt, whipped cream or vanilla custard. Or use as a side dish with pork, chicken or duck. Serves 4.

2. Rockin’ Ron Shewchuk’s Mission Hill Icewine Rhubarb Compote
From Planking Secrets, this recipe is courtesy of ex-Calgary chef, Michael Allemeier, now with Mission Hill Estate WInery.

Combine  2/3 cup water, ¾ cup icewine, 1 1/4 pound sugar, 1 vanilla bean halved and scraped, and the zest and juice of 2 lemons in a pot. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into another pot, add 2 pounds rhubarb, cleaned, trimmed and sliced crosswise ¼-inch wide, and bring to a low boil. Simmer 20 minutes or until fruit is soft and begins to fall apart. Remove from heat and let cool. Serve with yogurt, ice cream, pudding or custard, or on waffles or pancakes. Better yet, spread on grilled pork ribs -- finishes them off with a flourish! Or pour over baking chicken just before it’s done. Or place a dollop on top of grilled foie gras. Makes about 2 quarts. Keeps in the fridge for several weeks.

3. Rhubarb Galette
A galette is the easiest dessert to make as a showcase for summer fruits. It’s rustic, charming, “easy-as-pie” and people will think you’re some kind of magician!

Cut about 1 pound rhubarb into chunks, sprinkle with 1 1/2 cup sugar whisked with 2 tablespoon flour and the grated zest of 1 orange and set aside. Roll out your favourite pie crust onto a 12 to 14-inch round and place it on a cookie sheet. Pile rhubarb in the centre of the dough and drop about 3 tablespoons cubed butter all over. Fold the outsides of the crust over the filling – it will overlap -- leaving a hole in the top that shows off the rhubarb. Brush the outside of the galette with a whisked egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375°F for 30 to 40 minutes until the crust is browned and the rhubarb is bubbly with juice and butter. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, ice cream or custard. Or all by itself! Before baking, you can also add other summer fruit with the rhubarb. Serves 4 to 6.

4. Pickled Rhubarb with Ginger
From Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration

Trim and rinse 1 pound rhubarb. Slice crosswise into 1/8” thick slices and put in a large bowl. Very thinly slice a 2-inch knob of peeled ginger or unpeeled young or spring ginger and soak in a bowl of ice water for 5 minutes. Drain. Pour boiling water to cover over the rhubarb, let sit 1 minute, drain well, and return to the large bowl. Bring ½ cup water, ½ cup sugar, reserved ginger and ½ teaspoon salt to a boil over high heat. Cover and cook 5 minutes on low heat. Pour the sugar syrup over the rhubarb. Add 1 tablespoon grenadine (optional, but it enhances the colour), stir and cool. The relish will keep in the fridge, covered, for about 2 weeks. Serve with grilled or roasted duck, chicken or pork. Makes 2 cups.

5. Rhubarb Vodka Cocktail

From Jamie Oliver’s book, Jamie at Home

Place 1 pound rhubarb, cleaned and chopped, into a saucepan with 1/3 cup sugar and the juice of ½ orange, and simmer, covered, for a couple of minutes. Remove the cover and simmer until a thickish, compote consistency. Pour into a sieve over a bowl and let the liquid drip through (save the rhubarb for ice cream, yogurt or custard). Put 2 ounce vodka, ½ ounce Galliano, 1/2 ounce whipping cream, ½ ounce milk and 2 ounce rhubarb liquid into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into two chilled cocktail glasses.

6. Rhubarb Bellini
Toss ¾ pound rhubarb, trimmed and chopped, ¼ cup sugar and a couple tablespoons of water into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for a couple of minutes. Uncover and simmer until a thickish , compote consistency. Blend until you have a smooth purée. Cool, stir and divide among 6 chilled glasses. Top up until ¾ full with prosecco or champagne or your favourite sparkling wine and stir. Top up again with bubbles and enjoy!