Rhubarb has been taking center stage in the house this week. First we attempted to eat it as part of our mystery food challenge. Which led to mixed results and a potential case of food poisoning. Fortunately no kids were harmed, but they did learn some important lessons, namely that rhubarb 1) isn’t to be eaten raw, and 2) is effective as a sword when battling with your siblings post-breakfast.
After a few too many instances of needing to wrestle warped rhubarb out of small, maple syrup-sticky hands, I decided that a better fate than bruising and the eventual trash bin, would be to roast it with a sprinkling of vanilla sugar alongside some fresh organic strawberries.
There is no better pairing, in my mind, than strawberries and rhubarb. The only combination that comes close is Roquefort + baguette + a sip of red wine all sloshed together in one decadent bite. I have my Stepdad and the country of France to thank for that one. I’m not sure to whom I owe my thanks for strawberry rhubarb, but I’m sure that he or she would be pleased at passionate response it’s gotten over the years.
My favorite use is strawberry rhubarb pie, but I generally leave all pie making to the pie experts. I made it once for a dinner party, and it wasn’t a hit. My crust was lackluster, and Rodney was convinced that in general, rhubarb is a weird fruit to make into dessert. “Vegetable”, I corrected him. “Exactly”, he said, reaffirming his point that dessert and vegetables shouldn’t co-exist.
I disagreed, but regardless, soggy crusts don’t have a place at my table. So I make jam.
I’ve admitted to the fact that I’m scared of making jams and other foods that are have long shelf lives, but throwing some fruit into an oven with some sugar, letting it roast in its own juices and calling it jam? That I can handle. The maximum time it spends in the fridge is a week because we eat it as soon as we make it. No pectin, no boiling of sealed jars. It’s a win win for everyone.
Roasted strawberry rhubarb has so many applications. Don’t get me started with Greek yogurt. I’ll stir it into the yogurt as is…
…sometimes I’ll toast a few slivered almonds and scatter them on top of the yogurt.
But hands down my favorite indulgence is to make a big parfait where I’ll layer honey-sweetened yogurt with the strawberry rhubarb jam, and homemade cardamom-spiced granola.
But it doesn’t stop there. Spoon some of it into a blender along with tequila, lemon & lime juice, and a splash of Cointreau, and you’ve got a bracingly tart margarita on your hands, perfect for Summer.
There are so many more uses, a few more that come to mind:
- Spoon it on top of waffles (with whipped cream if you’re not shy with fat)
- Spread it on almond butter-smeared toast
- Blend it into a red fruit smoothie
- Top some baked puffed pastry with mascarpone and a dollop of your strawberry rhubarb jam
The list is endless; I hope you have fun with it. So get your hands on some strawberries and rhubarb and start roasting. Your breakfast, lunch, dessert and 5PM cocktail are waiting…..
- 1 pint-sized container of strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
- 1 large stalk of rhubarb (or 2 smaller stalks), washed and diced into pieces approximately the same size as the strawberries
- ¼ cup to 1/3 cup of vanilla sugar or regular granulated sugar (depending on the sweetness you’d like to achieve)
- 1/2 cup tequila
- 1/4 cup Cointreau
- 1/3 cup of freshly-squeezed juice from a mix of lemons and limes (about 4-6); you can also just use lime
- 3 cups of cubed ice
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment, and set aside.
- Combine the strawberries and rhubarb in a medium-sized bowl, and toss with the sugar.
- Spread in an even layer on the sheet pan, and roast for 20-30 minutes until the fruit has softened.
- When the fruit has cooled, tip the parchment with the fruit and all of its accumulated juices into a container. The fruit will keep, sealed in the fridge, for 7-10 days.
- Rim each of 3 glasses with a leftover lime, and dredge it in salt; set aside.
- To a blender, add 1 cup of strawberry rhubarb compote, the tequila, Grand Marnier, the lemon/lime juice, and the ice.
- Blend and serve in the reserved rimmed glasses, serving if desired with a sliver of lime on the glass.