Rhubarb. My farmers market’s enewsletter announced that the rhubarb lady would be at the market. OK, it wasn’t just the announcement of rhubarb that piqued my interest, it was the cocktail recipe that was included AND the request for recipes. I saw a challenge. I’ve never cooked with rhubarb before. The last time I knowingly ate rhubarb was about 35 years ago, and it was in a pie, with strawberries. The cocktail seemed so much yummier and worthwhile.
Before the pie, there was probably a creamy rhubarb dessert. Fresh, whipped-cream were a staple with dessert during my childhood. (BTW, thanks, mom, for the addiction to that white stuff.) I have a vague memory of stewed rhubarb. Anything “stewed” conjures up the image of really old people (stewed prunes, etc.) (When it was my chore to mow the lawn, I may have accidentally-on-purpose run over them. Oops.)
That was then. This is now. It’s only fair to give it a second chance. Beyond the fact that it has long reddish stalks, I don’t know much about it. I researched rhubarb to better understand this vegetable before my market shopping. I wanted to try to make something more than a cocktail; something that would give me a better sense of what rhubarb can really do; and I didn’t want to make a pie or a crumble. I Googled and Googled for something savory.
At the market I looked for thin, red crisp stalks. According to Martha, if the stalks “are floppy, it indicates they were picked too long ago.” I was picturing a red version of celery. Nothing floppy or celery-size about the 12 feet of rhubarb I picked up. (Each stalk was about 2′ long!)
I bought some beets too and decided to try roasting both for a salad. I’d hoped that the sweetness of roasted beets would offset the tartness of the rhubarb. The end result wasn’t so bad; actually it was pretty good. Roasted beets and rhubarb over wilted greens with a citrus vinaigrette. And even better, several of the ingredients came from my farmers market: rhubarb, beets, beet greens, honey, goat cheese and onion. And the EVOO and balsamics came from Devo Olive Oil.
I have some leftover roasted beets and rhubarb; I may try to make an ice cream out of it tomorrow.