Good things come to those who wait... like rhubarb in the Spring. The first plant to appear in my garden each year without any help from me is a robust rhubarb plant. As I watch it grow dramatically bigger with each warm day I start dreaming about what I'll make with the tangy stalks. The leaves remind me of elephant ears but are inedible so I hack them off with my chef's knife as if I'm on safari with a machete. It's fun and it makes me feel hunterly. That is definitely not a word but it should be.
Like some other early Spring revelations (ramps for example), rhubarb is distinctly cleansing; it's high in fiber and has a gentle laxative effect. With minerals like iron, copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus and B vitamins (rare for plants), it seems that nature provides exactly what we need when we need it.
If you're not a rhubarb lover yet, you're missing out on one of life's greatest pleasures. Ok, maybe not greatest but a definitely a good one. Too often loaded down with a lot of sugar or married to strawberries, it's true nature is obscured though I admit it still tastes really good that way.
So I thought I'd give you a fresh take on it with a straightforward compote to serve with cheese and a simple dip for raw vegetables. In the Food Truth app you'll find a savory chutney that is sensational next to roast pork loin. Get it now.
RHUBARB DIP FOR VEGETABLES
2 CUPS PEELED AND CHOPPED RHUBARB
2 TSP DIJON MUSTARD
1/4 TSP SEA SALT
1/3 CUP OLIVE OIL
Add rhubarb (peeled), mustard and salt to a blender and pulse until finely chopped. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream with the blender running and purée until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with raw or steamed vegetables.
RHUBARB COMPOTE SERVED WITH BRIE OR GOUDA CHEESE
2 CUPS FINELY CHOPPED RHUBARB STALKS
2 TBSP RAW SUGAR
2 TBSP FINELY CHOPPED RED ONION
1 TBSP UNSALTED BUTTER
SEA SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
1 TSP BALSAMIC VINEGAR
Combine rhubarb, sugar, onion and butter in a skillet and cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until the rhubarb is soft. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the vinegar. Cool and serve at room temperature with gouda and/or brie cheese or... while it's hot scoop it over the brie to make the cheese warm and gooey. That's what I did, no regrets.