Posted On: 05/01/2013
Rhubarb is one of the toughest ladies on the block. Oh sure she looks innocent, but don’t turn your back on her. She’s tarter than she is sweet, her leaves are poison and she's a vegetable in the same sneaky way that tomatoes are a fruit. The color difference is mostly varietal – green rhubarb isn’t necessarily unripe, nor will red be sweeter – but if you want that gorgeous ruby color in your dish, go with a redder stalk. Whatever you do, don't fence this chick in; she's destined for far more than pie filling.
We’re not kidding about those poisonous leaves – cut them off and dispose of them. Then give the stalks a good rinse. Don’t bother peeling them; that fibrous “skin” will break down during cooking.
Orange-Rhubarb Pancakes with Strawberry-Rhubarb Syrup Combine 1 cup rhubarb (chopped into ½-inch pieces), ½ cup fresh orange juice, 2 tablespoons orange zest and ½ cup granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until rhubarb is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, mash and let cool. To make the pancake batter, whisk together ½ cup white flour, 1¾ cups medium-grind cornmeal flour, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in 2 eggs, 1¾ cups buttermilk and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract until smooth, adding more buttermilk as needed. Stir in the orange-rhubarb sauce. Make strawberry-rhubarb syrup by adding 1 cup pure maple syrup, ¼ cup chopped strawberries and ¼ cup rhubarb (chopped into ½-inch pieces) to a small sauce pan. Bring to a low boil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cover and set aside. Cook pancakes in a large skillet or hot griddle. Serve with strawberry-rhubarb syrup, powdered sugar and whipped cream.
Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Rhubarb Compote In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup cider vinegar, ½ cup packed brown sugar, 2 cups rhubarb (chopped into ½-inch pieces), 1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons freshly chopped ginger, 2 minced garlic cloves and ¾ cup chopped red onion. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in 1/3 cup golden raisins, cover and set aside. Combine 1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper and Chinese Five Spice. Sprinkle spice mixture all over 1-pound pork tenderloin. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Sear tenderloin on all sides, about 90 seconds per side. Place skillet in 400-degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Diagonally carve ½-inch slices. Serve with spicy rhubarb compote.
Rhubarb-Ginger Fizz In a small saucepan, combine ½ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup water, ¼ cup red rhubarb (chopped into ½-inch pieces) and a freshly chopped 1-inch knob of ginger. Set over medium-high heat and stir until sugar dissolves and liquid comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain, reserving liquid. Let liquid come to room temperature, then transfer to re-sealable container.* In a shaker, combine 8 ounces gin, 4 ounces rhubarb simple syrup and ice. Shake hard for 20 seconds. Strain into 4 martini or coupe glasses, top with club soda and garnish with an orange twist.
* The rhubarb simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks.
Want to comment on this article? Login or sign up on Sauce.