Rhubarb moves from sweet to savory


Rhubarb season is in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere. Usually that means pies, tarts, and crisps, but chefs are taking a look at using rhubarb in savory applications as well. The Washington Post recently devised a contest for three area sous-chefs to come up with a savory spring rhubarb dish, and the results were fabulous.

The challenge was to find a way to tame rhubarb's puckery tart flavor without using copious amounts of sugar. One of the contestants, Krystal Cripe of the Red Hen in Bloomingdale, said "Rhubarb is definitely a difficult ingredient to work with. People are used to seeing it in sweet desserts, with ... something sweet to cut that tartness. It was tough to get that balance in savory."

In addition to the constraints on using rhubarb in a savory application, there were other limits on the contest. "The dish could incorporate just six ingredients (not including salt and pepper). And when the sous-chefs gathered at cooking school CulinAerie, they had just one hour to prepare their dish." The dishes they devised included a chilled rhubarb-strawberry soup with black pepper ricotta, grilled smoked foie gras with burnt rhubarb vinaigrette, and duck breast and foie gras with wild rice pilaf and cherry-rhubarb preserve. The EYB Library contains other interesting savory rhubarb dishes for you to try.


  • wester  on  5/16/2015 at 4:26 PM

    Rhubarb with strawberry, rhubarb with cherry, rhubarb with balsamico... Wow, really revolutionary. Really savory too. But then, these people are probably too "culinary" to make a meat stew with rhubarb, like they do in the Middle East.

  • darcie_b  on  5/16/2015 at 7:22 PM

    Funny you should mention that - a Persian rhubarb and lamb stew is the first savory recipe that pops up in the EYB Library...

  • Hnorahs50  on  5/16/2015 at 11:23 PM

    many years ago, maybe around 1970 when we lived in Denver on the way home from school there was someone who grew rhubarb. I know it has been many years but as I remember she just gave us stalks out of her garden that we would eat like celery..

  • susan g  on  5/17/2015 at 5:46 PM

    Here's one that works: http://www.mostlyeating.com/2008/04/tofu_with_hot_and_sour_rhubarb_sauce.html

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