Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Savory Green Rhubarb with Goat Cheese

A savory, onion scent is wafting through the kitchen as I type. I have green rhubarb on the stove simmering with celery, ginger, apple and onion.

We think of rhubarb, which is available early spring, in conjunction with sweet summer fruits like strawberries. Yet because it is sour, it's well suited as a stewed savory side to meats, poultry and fish.

Prior to today, I'd not eaten rhubarb as a savory dish, but because a green variety of the celery-like vegetable is growing large at the bottom of the garden on the property I'm care-taking this month, I thought, why not!

Why not stew it with complimentary vegetables like celery and onion, plus some ginger and apple -- all of which seemed to me as though they'd be delicious with the tart-tasting stalks.

I was right! The vegetables I chose to stew with the rhubarb stalks created a tart though slightly sweet compote that didn't need seasoning.

However, because the consistency of the compote, after 10 minutes of cooking, was creamy, I felt some additional creaminess in the form of a spoonful of goats cheese, would add just the right note of flavor and texture to finish the stewed vegetables.

If you'd like to try your hand at preparing savory rhubarb, follow the slide show above and my method recipe below.

Savory Green Rhubarb with Goat Cheese
1) Wash a couple stalks of green or red rhubarb. Remove some of the outer fibrous strings, and cut the stalks into pieces.
2) Repeat this process with a couple of celery stalks.
3) Cut half an onion and half an apple into chunks.
4) Slice off a small piece of ginger root, peel, and chop into tiny bits.
5) Put all of the above ingredients into a saucepan with half a cup of water. Simmer on low for about 10 mins or until the vegetables have cooked to a soft, compote consistency.
6) Set aside and allow compote to cool.
7) Add about a tablespoon of either goat cheese or cream cheese or sour cream to the vegetable compote and stir till the cheese or cream has blended in.
8) Taste test. You might find it needs a little zing; if so add some lemon zest or salt and pepper.

To Serve: Spoon a portion of the rhubarb compote into a bowl and top with slices of roasted rosemary chicken, or a fillet of poached fish -- such as the mahi mahi I featured last week.

I topped my sliced, leftover roasted rosemary chicken pieces with toasted walnuts, and to the side, I spooned some tomato chutney (shown in the slide show above). Instead of chutney, you might prefer to add a spoonful of fresh tomato salsa.

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