My relationship with rhubarb is complex, like the flavour of the plant itself. My first encounter did not go well. Rhubarb appeared one day in my veg bag, proud and red – in beauty and length, heads above the humble ground vegetables. I didn’t know how to approach it. It’s like celery, I decided. A really pretty celery. I tried grilling it with other veg – it rebelled, pooling into a beige inedible mush. I realised the plant was more than meets the eye. I didn’t “get” rhubarb.
Next time it appeared, I just gave it to my friend, who transformed it into an amazing cake of some kind. What? Celery cake? I was befuddled, yet inspired. I asked around my British colleagues, trying to unravel the mystery of rhubarb. Among the suggestions were rhubarb crumble (“it’s lovely“), rhubarb compote / jam, pie, etc. In a bar I encountered rhubarb in a cocktail.
Maybe there is hope for you and I, rhubarb, I thought.
Next time rhubarb appeared, I tried again. I adapted an internet recipe for rhubarb and strawberry compote, mixing in a bit of ginger.
It was, in a word, lovely.
Whenever it turns up in my veg bag, I scratch my head in wonder. Rhubarb.
*Compote recipe inspired by: http://frenchwomendontgetfat.com/content/rhubarb-strawberry-compote