Thursday, May 31, 2012

Roasted Rhubarb

For me, one of the many wonderful things about this time of year is the availability of rhubarb in the produce section. The pretty pink stalks can become wonderful dessert quite easily - this roasted rhubarb is a prime example. With 10 minutes (or even less) of prep and 15-20 minutes in the oven, you have something that can be a tart topping for a sweet ice cream (creme fraiche gelato, not pictured) or a (somewhat) more healthy oatmeal with sliced almonds, as shown below.

(Note: for reasons I don't fully understand, not everyone loves rhubarb as much as I do. I think it's because it is not very common and not everyone is familiar with it. Due to my enthusiasm for it, I tried serving rhubarb at more than one dinner party, more or less successfully depending on the attendees. Just throwing this out there as a warning - if you want a universally crowd-pleasing dessert, this might not be it. Save it for yourself instead.)

Roasted Rhubarb
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

1 pound rhubarb
½ cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon or ½ orange (I've used one in one batch, the other in the second - both are great)

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Cut the rhubarb into pieces about 1 inch long and toss them into a baking dish that will hold them comfortably. (I used a 9-inch round baking pan.) Sprinkle over the sugar and zest and stir everything around until the rhubarb is covered with sugar. (It will seem like you have too much sugar. You do not - rhubarb is very tart and the ½ cup sugar is just right.) Set aside for about 5 minutes.

3. Cover the baking dish with foil and roast the rhubarb for 15 minutes. Take a peek and if the sugar isn't almost completely melted, stir the rhubarb, re-cover the pan with the foil and roast a few minutes more. Then remove the foil and let the rhubarb roast for another 5 minutes or so, until the syrup is bubbling.

4. Remove the pan from the oven and let the rhubarb cool to just warm or to room temperature; chill, if you'd like.