Many know rhubarb thanks to a shockingly tart introduction in childhood, likely countered by dipping the stalk in sugar, or as simply “the pie plant,” a worthy component of custard or mixed-fruit pastries. Why not expand the concept beyond those idyllic, long ago summer days? A s ingredients and techniques have evolved to suit modern tastes, so too have opportunities to showcase this oft-overlooked vegetable. In Rhubarb Renaissance, seasoned writer and baker Kim Ode invites us to join her in celebrating rhubarb as one of the great flavors of horticulture.
In a lively re-introduction to this versatile vegetable, more than fifty creative recipes highlight uses from savory to sweet. Notes on rhubarb’s historic medicinal uses, preservation advice, and kitchen basics including foundation recipes for roasted rhubarb set up a selection of appetizers, entrées, desserts, and breads. Expand your repertoire with clever concoctions such as Rhubarb Corn Fritters, Turkey Tenderloins with RhubarBQ Sauce, Spiced Couscous with Rhubarb and Figs, or Chop-Chop Sweet and Sour Stir-fry. More familiar applications are offered with a slight—and tasty—twist: Salted Caramel Rhubapple Pie, for example, or Zucchini-Rhubarb Bread. With these delectable combinations and more, Rhubarb Renaissance reinforces memories of grandma’s kitchen but also inspires delight in the stalk’s place at the contemporary table.
Kim Ode is a feature writer for the Star Tribune’s Source section and the author of Baking with the St. Paul Bread Club.