Every spring I have to make a rhubarb dish. Folks from the US Northeast and Midwest understand as do folks in the Middle East, most others have never eaten the stuff.
Rhubarb is a vegetable that looks like celery with a sunburn. It’s tart and it’s non sweetness sets off sweet fruits and rich fatty foods such as salmon and foie gras. Much of what we find in the supermarket here is hothouse rhubarb, which tends to be less tart than the outdoor spring grown variety. Schneider tells us that the more red the skin, the less tart the taste. That’s good information, since Rule Number One, regarding rhubarb, is to not kill the tartness.
We had two dinners last week back-to-back, for four and for eight the following evening. I decided to try something a little different with rhubarb, having posted the Rhubarb Compote and Apple-Rhubard Streusel last year. (Truth be told: I forgot about last year’s dish.) The new Gourmet Cookbook had a Rhubarb Strawberry Crumble, so I made that. Not good, for two reasons. It broke Rule Number One with the result that the dessert tasted like strawberries with some ‘mystery stuff’ added. It also called for too much butter in the oatmeal topping, so rich that I rolled it out since it would not form a crumble.
Cooks may not be smart, but good ones are highly observant. So, came the dawn, I ran out for more rhubarb and strawberries and proceeded to make this dish a tart dessert. “Hey this tastes like rhubarb, and there’s strawberries in it, too!”
Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp
See abbreviations if needed
Yield: serves 8 to 10
2lbs rhubarb, ends trimmed, stalk sliced on the bias 1/4″ thick
1.5lbs strawberries, halved or quartered to bite sized
1T lemon juice
For the Topping:
3/4C light brown
7T butter, cubed and at ambient temperature
1.5C Quaker oats
1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. Place sliced rhubarb and strawberries in large SSB
3. Measure out the sugar and cornstarch and dry-mix them together
4. Add the lemon juice to the SSB and fold it in
5. Add the sugar/cornstarch mix and fold in thoroughly
6. Place all in a 12 X 8 inch baking dish and tap down gently to remove gaps
For the topping:
7. Place the flour, brown sugar, oats and salt in another SSB
8. Add the butter cubes and work in by hand to form a crumbly
9. Crumble the topping over the filling evenly
10. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes
11. Remove the foil and bake until the filling is bubbling and the topping is nicely browned, about 30 minutes more (see note)
12. Serve warm or at ambient temperature with a dollop of sour cream laced with Grand Marnier
Note: If you think the whole thing might bubble over, place a sheet pan under the baking dish.