Look beyond the pie to make the most of rhubarb season


When people think of rhubarb, they probably conjure images of pies, tarts, or other desserts. (When I think of rhubarb, I recall a conversation with a younger coworker who said "rhubarb is for old people." But I digress.) The uses for this spring vegetable (it's not a fruit, despite its usual treatment as a dessert) extend beyond the pie plate, as The Washington Post explains.

They scoured their database for recipes that didn't douse rhubarb in sugar. The results ranged from a barbecue sauce to a cold soup to a pasta salad to strawberry-rhubarb glazed chicken thighs - diverse and unexpected uses for the plant, which should be popping up soon in northern farmers' markets.

Scouring the EYB database turned up almost 450 savory rhubarb recipes. For good measure, I've also included a few sweet ones, because a good rhubarb pie is hard to beat. Do you agree with my coworker that rhubarb is, shall we say, an acquired taste? What's your favorite rhubarb recipe?

The savoury assemblage: Rhubarb on rye with watercress, radishes and goat's curd
         from The Guardian Cook supplement by Claire Thomson
Spring fling
 cocktail from Zen and Tonic by Jules Aron
         (one day left to enter our contest for your chance to win a copy - US & Canada only)
Shaved celery salad with rhubarb vinaigrette from Vegetarian Times Magazine
Grilled hanger steak with spring vegetables and hazelnuts
 from Food & Wine Magazine
Potato salad with a rhubarb & balsamic dressing
from Tinned Tomatoes by Jacqueline Meldrum
Individual rhubarb and berry crumbles
from The Free Range Cook by Annabel Langbein
Rhubarb (pie plant) pie
from United States of Pie by Adrienne Kane
Rhubarb cake
from Pure Simple Cooking by Diana Henry
Strawberry-rhubarb sorbet
from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz


  • sgump  on  5/9/2016 at 10:27 PM

    Several years ago I came across a delightful recipe called something akin to "Syrian eggs with rhubarb" or "bed d'rowand" in a few cookbooks: scrambled eggs marbelized with a compote-like sauce of fresh (or frozen) rhubarb, minced garlic, and just a pinch of sugar--finished with dried mint. (Allspice is optional, but salt and pepper are helpful.) Fabulous when served warm for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even dinner! Thanks for the reminder to make it again.

  • Jane  on  5/10/2016 at 1:16 PM

    My favorite rhubarb recipe is a Nigella Lawson recipe - Rhubarb cornmeal cake with muscat-mascarpone cream from How to be a Domestic Goddess. It was my son's choice of birthday cake for many years. I'm making the desserts for an English pub night party next week and one of them is Rhubarb and custard macarons from Afternoon Tea at Home by Will Torrent. I can't think that I have ever used rhubarb in savory cooking - I obviously need to start.

  • ellabee  on  5/10/2016 at 2:48 PM

    sgump, that Syrian recipe sounds delicious! Off to hunt around for a recipe that's similar.

  • ellabee  on  5/10/2016 at 3:17 PM

    Found it in Aromas of Aleppo, which I've had on my radar for several years. This may tip it onto my serious wishlist. Thanks again, sgump.

  • sgump  on  5/10/2016 at 10:35 PM

    Indeed, ellabee! *Aromas of Aleppo* is a fabulous book--and essentially the same recipe is included therein as *Beid Ru'and*: Eggs Scrambled with Rhubarb (p. 231). The version at "The Taste Space" (https://tastespace.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/syrian-eggs-scrambled-with-rhubarb-beid-ruand/) is effectively a halving of the *Aromas* version. A slightly different version, based on a recipe in Jennifer Felicia Abadi's *A Fistful of Lentils: Syrian-Jewish Recipes from Grandma Fritzie's Kitchen* (Harvard Common Press, 2002), pp. 210-11, is online at Laura Constantino's site (http://www.laurieconstantino.com/recipe-index/scrambled-eggs-with-rhubarb-and-herbs/). And if you happen to have Gil Marks's *Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World* (Wiley, 2005), you'll find "Syrian Eggs with Rhubarb" (*Beid bi Rhubarber*) on p. 427. Delicious, delicious!

  • hillsboroks  on  5/12/2016 at 3:31 PM

    Several years ago I found Diana Henry's recipe online for "Gressingham Duck with Rhubarb Sauce." It totally intrigued me and when my husband started bringing home wild ducks from hunting I gave it a try. The tart rhubarb sauce with the wild gaminess of the duck was wonderful. The sauce has a bit of sugar in it and vanilla as well as spices and red wine. Just don't go overboard with the vanilla and it is great. The recipe is for a domestic duck but I have found I can sub in wild ducks just by adjusting the cook times.

  • lkgrover  on  5/12/2016 at 11:49 PM

    sgump & ellabee: I also own Aromas of Aleppo, and you have inspired me to buy rhubarb this weekend, and make Beid ru'and. Thanks, it sounds delicious!

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