Rhubarb Heralds Spring – Roasted Rhubarb

May 21st, 2012 / Comments 15

Do you still have snow? Is the sap running? Have you seen mergansers on the river?

f rhubarb herald Rhubarb Heralds Spring   Roasted RhubarbThese familiar questions are heard at the post office, the Creamery, the market, and at community dinners in the early spring.

It was a bright morning last April, when I saw pink sprouts pushing up through the cold earth. Within a week, there were pink stems topped with dark green leaves. Rhubarb! It would be the first harvest from my garden. Along with the phoebes that nest in the rafters of the barn, it’s rhubarb that announces the arrival of spring in Vermont.

F rhubarb c egbert co Rhubarb Heralds Spring   Roasted Rhubarb

A lilac bush, a clump of rhubarb and a stonewall may be all that remains of a homestead abandoned a hundred years earlier. The dark green leaves, full of oxalic acid, are poisonous but the bright pink or drab green stems are loaded with flavor. It doesn’t need much attention, an occasion scoop of well-rotted manure and cutting back the flowering stalks when they appear will keep the harvest coming until early summer.

Technically rhubarb is a vegetable, but I think of it as a fruit that can be roasted and topped with a dollop of yogurt, baked in a pie or simmered with dried fruit to make chutney.

A week after the sprouts had appeared, it was impossible for me to wait any longer. There wasn’t enough rhubarb to make a pie, but there were enough stems for a ‘dessert for one’. That bowl of sweet-tart, roasted rhubarb satisfied my rhubarb cravings. Here’s how I did it:

Roasted Rhubarb
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Recipe type: Dessert
Author: Carol Egbert
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Essence of spring, a simple dessert
Ingredients
  • 4 stalks rhubarb, cut in 1 inch pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • heavy cream to cover
  • pinch ground nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Combine rhubarb and sugar, let sit for 30 minutes
  2. Put rhubarb and juice that has formed into a buttered ceramic baking dish
  3. Roast at 175-degrees C / 350 F degrees for 30 minutes, until tender and surrounded with sweet pink syrup.
  4. Poured in a generous splash of heavy cream, added a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg and returned it to the oven for ten more minutes.

I like to eat it still hot from the oven, with an antique silver spoon that was my grandmother’s, but no one has complained when I have served it chilled as dessert or topped with granola for breakfast. Rhubarb from the garden with cream from a Vermont dairy and local maple syrup is eating local at its best.

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