I confess… there were many years I never touched the stuff. Yet, the old reliable anchored the corner of my vegetable garden, asking little, offering odd shoots of seedheads and fodder for the compost, and sitting patiently, as if thinking: “your day will come.”
My day has come. Cooking with rhubarb is wonderful alchemy. Adding sugar to the chopped stalks to get the perfect combination of sweet and tart. You know, even Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada” was a fan of rhubarb: “Tarts filled with warm rhubarb compote.” The living Minnesota lawn ornament is somehow elevated to virtually gourmet status.
I believe that the simple rhubarb crisp recipe is my favorite:
Rapturous Rhubarb Crisp
4-5 cups chopped rhubarb
1-2 cups sugar
2-3 tbsp. flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup flour (whole grain is great)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1/2 cup butter, melted or very soft
Combine sugar and rhubarb well in a bowl and allow to set for at least 1 hour. Add 2-3 tbsps. of flour to thicken a bit. Pour into a 9×13 pan. Combine remaining ingredients and crumble on top. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes or until top is golden brown and the glossy, red lava begins to bubble up the sides.
Great with lots of whipped cream.