Jim Dixon wrote about food for WW for more than 20 years, but these days most of his time is spent at his olive oil-focused specialty food business Wellspent Market. Jim’s always loved to eat, and he encourages his customers to cook by sending them recipes every week through his newsletter. We’re happy to have him back creating some special dishes just for WW readers.
Oregon grows a lot of rhubarb—not as much as Washington but more than Wisconsin, the other states comprising the nexus of America’s rhubarb production. If you live here, you should have some growing somewhere in your yard, or at least know of a neighbor’s patch that doesn’t get harvested. The long, celery-like crimson stalks can be harvested from late April through early June, and sometimes you can get another harvest a few weeks later. You’ll also find rhubarb in most local produce departments, and it’s relatively inexpensive.
But, you may ask, “What do I do with it besides making pie?” Roast it.
I grew up eating stewed rhubarb, the stalks cut into bite-sized pieces and cooked with enough sugar to temper the eye-watering tartness. But stewing renders the rhubarb jam-like, and you end up eating what’s technically compote. It’s not a bad thing, but I like it better roasted.
Tossed with honey and a little extra-virgin olive oil for both lubrication and flavor, the rhubarb retains its structural integrity but still gets very tender. It’s very tasty as is, but also good spooned over yogurt, ice cream, or a slice of olive oil cake.
Honey Roasted Rhubarb
8-10 stalks rhubarb
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
Trim any remnants of the oxalic acid-laden leaf from the stalks, ditto for the bottom end, where the petioles, as they edible stalks are known botanically, are pulled from the perennial crown. Cut the stalks into bite-sized pieces, about 3/4 of an inch.
Combine the cut rhubarb in a bowl with the honey (heat it up to make it easier to mix), olive oil and salt. Toss so the pieces are evenly coated, then spread everything onto a sheet pan. Roast at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Eat.