Sweet and Saucy Spring Rhubarb
Rhubarb is a perennial plant that grows from thick short rhizomes, comprising the genus Rheum. The large, somewhat triangular leaf blades are elevated on long, fleshy petioles. The flowers are small, greenish-white, and borne in large compound leafy inflorescences.
Rhubarb is actually a vegetable, but is often used in food as a fruit. In the United States until the 1940s it was considered a vegetable. It was reclassified as a fruit when US customs officials, baffled by the foreign food, decided it should be classified according to the way it was eaten.
Chock full of vitamins and minerals and possessing a lively character of its own, rhubarb is our favorite sign that spring is really, truly here. This recipe is the soul of simplicity: the rhubarb cooks up soft and tangy-sweet in a citrus-spiked sauce. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and you have rhubarb heaven in a dish.
6 largish rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
3/4 cup organic granulated sugar or more, to taste
Zest of 1 orange
- Preheat oven to 325F. Place rhubarb in a medium baking dish, sprinkle with sugar and orange zest. Add only just enough water to cover the rhubarb.
- Place dish in oven and bake about an hour, until rhubarb is very soft but still holds its shape. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the rhubarb to a pretty serving dish.
- Pour the baking-dish juices into a saucepan and boil over medium-high heat around 15 minutes, until thick and syrupy. Pour this sauce over the rhubarb.
- Serve rhubarb warm or room temperature, with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
Serves 4 to 6.
If you don’t want to use sugar, try substituting maple syrup.