Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rhubarb with DuckEgg Cornbread

Earlier this week I wrote about the unusual delights of green rhubarb as a savory compote to meats, poultry and fish.

With plenty of rhubarb in the garden, I stewed another batch of the fibrous green vegetable and wondered what I might do with it this time.

This month, in addition to care-taking a large yard with vegetable garden, and a dozen young fruit trees, I'm also feeding, watering and daily collecting eggs from 11 laying hens and 2 laying ducks.

The duck eggs are mounting in the fridge because I haven't eaten them, and the families who drop by to collect eggs prefer the chicken eggs over their richer cousins.

Perhaps you've eaten or cooked with duck eggs and noted that they have a strong flavor, bright orange-yellow yolks that are higher in fat than chicken eggs, and thick protein-rich whites.

We had two, Khaki Campbell ducks in our backyard when I was growing up. My mother loved that they ate the snails and grubs in her garden and she loved to use their eggs primarily for baking, in particular rich and buttery dried-fruit and nut cakes.

So standing in front of the open fridge today, looking at the duck eggs and the stewed rhubarb, it occurred to me that I could bake something with a couple of those eggs -- something that I could have eat with the stewed green rhubarb.

Rhubarb with DuckEgg Cornbread

Watch the slide show above and then follow my method steps to prepare this delicious dessert.

1) Wash two fresh duck eggs of any dirt and debris.
2) Pour 2 cups of cornmeal into a bowl; add 1 cup milk or buttermilk or half and half or whipping cream (depending on how rich you want your cornbread to be).
3) To sweeten the cornbread, I added 1 tablespoon of orange marmalade and 2 tablespoons of raspberry jam. I had open bottles in the fridge and decided the chunky jams would make for subtle, fruit sweeteners.
4) Melt 4 ounces of butter and pour over the above ingredients.
5) Add 1 tablespoon of baking powder to the bowl.
6) Break the duck eggs into the batter and stir well.
7) Line an iron skillet with oiled tin foil and then pour the cornbread batter into the skillet.
8) Put the cornbread into a 450-degree oven for 20 mins or until it's golden brown.

To Serve: Slice pieces of warm cornbread and place in bowls. Top with spoonfuls of stewed rhubarb and a dob of leftover fruit jam, which you might prefer to mix through the stewed rhubarb first. Pour half and half, whipping cream or spoon yogurt, sour cream or ice cream to the side of the cornbread.

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