Ed. Note: Our friend Julia, the pending med student and far mar worker, tells us what to do with that mysterious rhubarb. Julia previous spun Meyer lemons into syrup.
Last Saturday when I was working at the Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market, I spent all day singing the praises of rhubarb. I then realized that all I ever do with it is make crisps, so I decided to branch out and started searching for other things. Plus, my co-worker Nick thinks it’s a dumb vegetable, and very over-hyped, so I was trying to prove him wrong. Nothing like a little revenge cooking.
I love rhubarb because it adds something unexpected to sweet deserts. It takes on the sweetness, but also is fresh and bright and slightly sour. It just tastes like spring to me: new and tangy. I have to say, I think this roasted rhubarb recipe could be the gateway drug for the gorgeous magenta stick. And it’s going to be hard for me to go back to my normal crisps after this. It was so, so good.
Roasted Rhubarb with Vanilla and Orange
First off, as much as I would like to take full credit for this fabulous recipe, I can’t. I found it at I made that!, one of my favorite places to search (on the rare occasion I feel like baking). I did modify it slightly, because I’m not a professional pastry chef, and therefore try not to use butter and sugar as if I was cooking for other people instead of myself.
I took the last two bunches of rhubarb left in my fridge from last week’s market and chopped the stalks into 1/3 inch pieces. I ended up with about 4 ½ cups of chopped rhubarb.
In a large bowl I poured ½ cup of sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla and the juice of ½ an orange over the rhubarb. I gave the whole thing a good stir and let it sit for about 10 minutes to allow the juices to develop a little.
I then poured the mixture into a shallow baking dish and roasted at 325 for about 35 minutes. I pulled the rhubarb when the chunks were still holding their shape, but began to fall apart when I poked them with a fork.
For the final step, I strained the roasted rhubarb mixture over a small saucepan and then set aside the whole chunks.
After adding about ½ tablespoon of butter and squeezing the remaining orange juice (minus the few segments that I ate during the cooking process) into the pot with the rhubarb syrup, I simmered the mixture until it had reduced by about half and started to develop a really nice shine. Once the syrup was done, I poured it back over the rhubarb chunks and let the whole thing sit for about an hour.
My original plan had been to serve this with shortcakes, but I wasn’t feeling the whole cutting out biscuits process, so I made my lovely boy friend run out for angel food cake ingredients. And then, when he got home, I politely asked him if he wouldn’t mind baking the cake as well. So he baked and then we ate. And ate. And I highly suggest you do the same.