Farm Fresh Pick of the Week: Rhubarb

Friday, January 27, 2012 12:54

Not Just For Pies & Jam!

by: Casey Pukl

It was all hands on deck here when I issued a farm fresh pick of the week challenge: rhubarb. There was only one rule— no pies. Everything else was fair game. I’m so excited to share the amazingly tasty dishes and cocktails that our staff has come up with! Hopefully this will inspire you to do some experimenting with this tart and versatile root.

Chef Todd Allison had delicious ideas for a three-course meal using rhubarb from beginning to end. Not only is this meal refreshing, but it also highlights all of the different flavors of rhubarb. But before we get into the recipes, there’s one major note when using rhubarb: do NOT use the leaves. Only work with the stems, as the leaves are not meant to be consumed!

Starter: Rhubarb Gelee with Crab & Cucumber

This dish is simple, refreshing, and works as a great introduction to the meal. Gelee is also pretty simple to make, Chef Allison pointed out. He recommends making the gelee with Rhubarb juice, water, sugar, and pre-packaged gelatin. This dish is best served cold as a sort of crab salad. You can serve them in small cones with the gelee on top.

Second Course: Pickled Rhubarb & Local Halibut Ceviche

Ceviche is one of those dishes that only sounds complicated. There’s no cooking involved! To start this dish, you’ll need to pickle your rhubarb. This process can last anywhere from 5 days to one month depending on your preference. Typical pickling recipes for rhubarb include apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and any additional spices that you choose. For this dish, Chef Allison, recommends keeping it simple. To make this dish, trim your fish into bite size pieces. Season with salt and pepper, and add some red onion slices. Marinate the fish and onion in citrus (Chef Allison recommends lime juice, for this recipe) for about one hour. The citrus actually cooks the fish without having to use heat. Then add a little freshly chopped mint on top, and serve with Taro root chips.

Third Course: Candied Rhubarb & Orange Scone with Basil Rhubarb Syrup

If you’re looking for a unique dessert, this one is sure to fit the bill. You can start with a simple orange scone recipe. Candied rhubarb is very easy to make, and is one of the best tart/sour candies you can find! To start the process, slice the rhubarb into matchsticks. Next, you’ll dissolve sugar in water, dip the rhubarb sticks, remove, and bake at 200 degrees for about one hour. You’ll use these on top of your scones. For an extra burst of flavor, top the scones and candied rhubarb with a basil and rhubarb infused syrup. This is very similar to the candy mixture. You’ll need rhubarb slices, sugar, water, and basil. Simmer the mixture for about 20-30 minutes, and strain.

The Rhubarb ManhattanFirst up: The Rhubarb Manhattan
Creator: Christine Thayer

Rhubarb Vermouth
Buffalo Trace Bourbon
Fee Brothers’ Rhubarb Bitters

Instructions: Stir over ice, strain, serve up, garnish with a lemon pigtail.

This take on the traditional Manhattan has just a little tartness to it that really makes it shine. Christine also recommends taking this drink one step further for those who enjoy something with a little more sweetness. “Muddle 1/8 of an apple, and one or two sections of orange before mixing,” she says. This start gives the drink a bit more of a sweetness and texture.

To make the rhubarb vermouth: Christine started off by poaching chopped rhubarb stalks in 1 ½ cups of Carpano Antica sweet vermouth. Allow the mixture to simmer for up to 30 minutes, then strain. Allow the mixture to cool before using.

Rhubarb Margarita


Next up: The Rhubarb Margarita
Creator: Marc Canzoneri

Rhubarb Puree
Orange Liqueur
Fresh Squeezed Sour Mix (Lemon & Lime)

Instructions: Build in the glass with ice, pour into tin, pour back into glass, and garnish with lime.

This fresh take on the classic Margarita recipe is bold. This is the perfect recipe to welcome the spring months. It’s not too sweet, and the rhubarb surprisingly complements the tequila quite well.

To make the rhubarb puree: Sous Chef Kristen Williams cooked down chopped pieces of rhubarb stalks with lime, sugar, and water. She then pureed the mixture. Your puree can stay refrigerated for 2-3 days.

Last: The Golden Rhuby
Creator: Marc Canzoneri

Rhubarb Puree
Citron Vodka

Instructions: Shake, strain, serve up. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Welcome to spring! Not only is this one gorgeous to look at, but it’s delicious. This would be a great dessert cocktail to pair with a sorbet or panna cotta. The honey gives it a different edge while the citrus really rounds out the flavor profile, and it also has a slightly creamy texture to it from the puree and honey. The puree for this recipe is the same as the above.

I hope these recipes inspire you to get out in your garden and give this root a try!