The Northwest farmers markets are overflowing with field-grown rhubarb. And the bounty will extend well beyond the time the large commercial growers call it quits for the season. This is because small local growers have taken up the cause and have discovered that they can keep rhubarb growing about as long as customers show enthusiasm for buying it. My own enthusiasm never seems to wane. The absence between October and February just makes the heart grow fonder.
Every spring, I work up a few new rhubarb dishes. Then I share the best of them with you. In case you missed them, here is a fresh rhubarb primer, plus some of my favorite ways to eat this most distinctive and evocative fruit cum vegetable.
Everything you need to know, including season, selection, storage, preparation, cooking, and great partners.
The sweet flavor of pork has a natural affinity with acidic fruit flavors, as in this rhubarb-cider sauce, and with spices, such as allspice and cloves, which are used here in an apple cider brine. The key to this dish is in not overcooking the pork; it should be nicely rosy in the center, very juicy and tender.
Muffins don’t get any better than this. The texture is tender and open, with sweet/tart rhubarb goodness throughout. Plus, there is just something magical about the combination of cardamom, lime, and rhubarb. To balance the tart bursts of rhubarb on the palate, the caramelized streusel topping is a must. Don’t even think about leaving it out.
This crisp combines the last of the Northwest apples (from winter cold storage) and the first of the spring field-rhubarb crop. It’s a perfect marriage, because the apples lend body to the crisp (rhubarb disintegrates when cooked) and the rhubarb boosts the flavor of the apples by several notches. Rhubarb has a natural affinity for caramel, thus I use all brown sugar for the sweetener here. Lime, cardamom, cloves, hazelnuts, and vanilla ice cream are additional flavors that work magic with rhubarb, and they are all here in this wonderful dessert.
I can’t decide if I prefer this cake upside-down with the pale pink, glistening rhubarb on top or upside-up with the lovely browned cake on top. I leave it to your discretion. Whatever you decide, upon your first bite of this anise-scented, tender cake, you won’t care how it looks on the plate. The ethereally light texture of this cake is the result of the proportions of the ingredients but also, I believe, of the steam that is created from the sauce at the bottom of each ramekin.
This flavor combination is made in heaven. The Marmellata is intentionally on the softly set side, so that it can be used as a sauce, as well as a jam. It’s so delicious that you will be tempted to slather it on everything.
Additional Rhubarb Inspiration
- All our Fingers in the Pie: Rhubarb Turkish Delight
- Cannelle et Vanille: Coconut, Strawberry, white Chocolate and Rhubarb Mousse Cake
- Cook: Brown Butter Rhubarb Tart
- Culinate: Raw Rhubarb Honey Rosemary Compote
- Eggs on Sunday: Individual Rhubarb Pudding Cakes
- Food Blogga: Strawberry Rhubarb Sponge Pudding
- Gastronomer’s Guide: Panna Cotta with Roast and Pickled Rhubarb
- Half Baked: Cardamom Scented Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp
- Hungry Cravings: Ginger Panna Cotta, Rhubarb Mousse & Rhubarb Gelée Verrines
- Kitchen 22: Rhubarb and Pear Frangipane Tart
- La Tartine Gourmande: Rhubarb, Ginger, and Vanilla Tartlets
- Lemonpi: Vanilla Rhubarb Compote with Toasted Almond Milk Froth and Frangipane Tuile
- My Kitchen in the Rockies: French Rhubarb Cake
- Nordlijus: Rhubarb and Custard
- Orangette: Rhubarb Meringue Tart
- Pastry Studio: Rhubarb Soup
- SmittenKitchen: Strawberry Rhubarb Pecan Loaf
- Seriously Good: Rhubarb Mousse
- Spicy Ice Cream: Quince & Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream
- Tartelette: Cardamom Tapioca Puddings
- TasteFood: Rhubarb and Rosemary Crème Brûlée
- Tigress in a Jam: Rhubeena
- Tigress in a Pickle: Rhubarb Ketchup
- The Pastry Department: Vanilla Poached Rhubarb
- Where Food Happens: Coriander Lime Ice Cream with Rhubarb Swirl
- Zen Can Cook: Rhubarb-White Chocolate Soufflés
- Little Tastes of the Dahlia: Rhubarb
- Lousy Weather is Good for Rhubarb
- Rhubarb Hunts a Place Beyond the Pie
- Rhubarb Paper
- Washington Rhubarb Growers Association
Copyright 2011 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.