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French Fridays with Dorie: Roasted rhubarb

I’m probably going to be banned from the food blogging world for saying this but I am not a fan of rhubarb. My earliest memory of it is “stewed” in ice-cream at my nana’s house and I found it tart and unpalatable, mostly for its mushy texture.  Over the past few weeks, I have seen many a blogger going on waxing lyrical about their love for what I still think looks like red celery and I have scratched my head. I mean, perhaps I have never had rhubarb properly prepared, this is entirely possible – my memories of it are so unpleasant that I have never seen fit to try to cook with it myself, despite all the pretty photos and flowery prose I see in the blogosphere.  So when I saw Roasted Rhubarb (p. 397) listed as this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, I was not over the moon, to put it mildly.  However…

My friend Melissa whose blog reads exactly the way she speaks – down to earth and approachable – wrote a post about a rhubarb and berry compote just last week. Just as I had procured the red celery rhubarb for the Dorie recipe. And Melissa made it look so inviting, so deliciously fruity and flavourful, especially when swirled into tangy natural yoghurt, that I figured I might have to try this compote for myself. You know, to ease my way into the world of the red celery.

I have very fond memories of fruit compote from when I lived in Belgium.  My host families’ breakfast that always included some kind of fruit compote that we would mix into plain yoghurt. A real “fruit on the bottom” yoghurt. Except that it was on top.  Never mind your (artificially) flavoured yoghurts – this, my friends, is the real deal.   Melissa’s compote took less that 30 minutes from start to finish and, I was pleased to discover, did not taste anything like red celery.  Delicious in yoghurt or, I suspect, on a fresh piece of baguette or a croissant.  You can find her recipe here.

So I mustered up my courage and followed Dorie’s directions to roast the remainder of my rhubarb. I added way more zest (I used both lemon and orange) than the recipe called for and also added mint to the final dish. And to my surprise, I quite enjoyed the taste. Plus, it’s pretty…

The texture, on the other hand, I am not a huge fan of, sadly.  Still a little mushy for me. I think I might have to stick to compote. It *is* pretty though, right?

Edited to add: I wish I had seen Stellas’ post on rhubarb a week ago. Some wonderful (and different) ideas!

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81 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: Roasted rhubarb

  1. Mr. Neil June 17, 2011 at 06:00 #

    Yeah, not a winner, this one. :-(

    I *do* like rhubarb, and the compote worked. But the rest just had issues with size, consistency, and stringy mint. Maybe just not the best of choices for 6.00 breakfast…

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 17, 2011 at 06:56 #

      I might try the rest of it warmed a little with some honey over ice cream? Sad this didn’t work for me/us but happy I learned how to make a great compote!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 19, 2011 at 20:46 #

      Yes, my bad. Not a breakfast food.

  2. Belinda @zomppa June 17, 2011 at 06:27 #

    You still did a lovely job and this dish could convert even the most diehard rhubarb skeptic!

  3. Adriana June 17, 2011 at 06:56 #

    It is pretty. No need to put it in quotes! I’m off to check Melissa’s compote and pout about why we can’t get rhubarb here.

  4. Liz June 17, 2011 at 07:46 #

    Red celery? LOL, so true! Sorry you weren’t a fan of Dorie’s dish, but your compote is stunning!!!! Glad you found a way to enjoy rhubarb :)

  5. Brian @ A Thought For Food June 17, 2011 at 07:50 #

    I have always been a big fan of rhubarb, but it has to be done correctly. So many times, if not cooked properly, it remains too tart. But it does look like you did a wonderful job with this. I’m going to have to give the compote a try too.

  6. Kate@Diethood June 17, 2011 at 08:06 #

    Oh good…I’m not the only one that thought of it as red celery. :) I do like it, though, especially in pies.
    I couldn’t find any around here…its season is done, so I’m sitting out this week.

  7. Hezzi-D June 17, 2011 at 08:45 #

    I love rhubarb-it’s got a great flavor to it and yours looks wonderful! So brightly colored and delicious. I suspect it would be good on ice cream too!

  8. Pam @ From Apples To Zucchini June 17, 2011 at 08:50 #

    I did laugh out loud at the red celery remark! Sorry you didn’t like it, but your pictures are beautiful!

  9. eliot June 17, 2011 at 09:55 #

    OK–your memories and my memories are the same regarding rhubarb, but my husband had a strawberry/rhubarb tart at the farmers’ market and now we have some planted. I will save this (and other rhubarb recipes) b/c we planted a LOT!

  10. Dessert By Candy June 17, 2011 at 10:06 #

    Rhubarb season is going strong in Ontario but I am pretty jealous of your deep jewel red variety! The ones I bought are more pale green than red so far less visually stunning. Still taste pretty good with rice pudding. My favourite rhubarb compote recipe is from Good To The Grain. Half cooked to mush, half uncooked. Great texture. No mushy fruit in that one!

  11. Jill Colonna June 17, 2011 at 10:38 #

    What? Don’t like rhubarb? Banned from blogging? You are too funny. Love this post and also the photos – what beauties, no matter what you say ;-) I’m like Candy – I can’t get a hold of that gorgeous red rhubarb I see so much of on the blogosphere. So frustrating. We just get that red covered green stuff so I can dream through your photos with all that lovely zest.

  12. Maria June 17, 2011 at 10:55 #

    We are loving rhubarb right now. Great recipes!

  13. Melissa@EyesBigger June 17, 2011 at 12:01 #

    hahaha, I’m glad I made a convert out of you! I do know a few people who prefer it raw and crunchy dipped in sugar or honey so, you could try that but I find that a little too tart for my liking.

    compote is so freaking easy – I make apple compote all the time in the winter. goes so well with pork medallions or on oatmeal and it’s a great way to used up apples that are starting to look a bit banged up and worse for wear.

    Pretty pictures Mardi!

  14. Cher June 17, 2011 at 12:40 #

    Ah, I am one of those rhubarb lovers. Maybe it’s a pallette thing?
    The compote looks lovely – so maybe the blog world will forgive you.

  15. Jan June 17, 2011 at 12:53 #

    I never thought about how soft rhubarb gets when it cooks, but I see your point. I agree with you about the compote and yoghurt combo: so much better than the yoghurts at the store! P.S. Lovely photos :)

  16. K June 17, 2011 at 14:36 #

    Definitely try it over ice cream. And it does look beautiful!

  17. The Mistress of Spices June 17, 2011 at 15:15 #

    I recently tried and cooked with rhubarb for the first time ever – in a crumble with strawberries. It was delicious, but I do have doubts about rhubarb on its own. I’m sure it would be great in a compote though. And in any case, it LOOKS gorgeous!

  18. K A B L O O E Y June 17, 2011 at 15:17 #

    I feel the opposite about rhubarb — love it. I can eat lemons, so tart’s not a problem for me. I will definitely try the compote, but maybe with less sugar (because of the tartness thing.) And thanks for the link to Melissa’s blog, which I hadn’t seen. She’s now in my reader.

  19. Tricia S. June 17, 2011 at 15:18 #

    Love love love your bowl of yogurt (literally, I love the bowl and spoon as well as your Dorie results :) Nana adored this one and we are researching to figure out how I managed to screw it up. I will say that she looked at mine and said it was “green”. Note that she had just learned about rhubarb via Googling…so I figured I was still ok. And it is really tough to get around here. She just went to five different stores this afternoon looking for more since we have the “teenager” coming back tonight for rhubarb redemption :)

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 19, 2011 at 20:22 #

      Tricia, I was laughing so hard at your post with visions of Nana googling the rhubarb. I also had some green stalks and didn’t use them – it looked even more like celery!!!

  20. Kathy June 17, 2011 at 16:23 #

    Loved your post! I had a laugh at the red celery comment. And yes it is very pretty! I really enjoyed this recipe…but then I love rhubarb!

  21. bridget {bake at 350} June 17, 2011 at 18:57 #

    Thank you for being honest….I’ve never TRIED rhubarb….but have always suspected it wouldn’t be my favorite. I WILL try it someday, though. I think I will get kicked out of the foodie club (is there such a thing?) by admitting this: I don’t like figs. (Except in Fig Newtons.) ;)

  22. working london mummy June 17, 2011 at 19:25 #

    Well done for saying it . Rhubarb is terribly in vogue. I have to say though it is growing on me. Though in moderation!

  23. April @ Girl Gone Gourmet June 17, 2011 at 20:14 #

    Have to admit I’ve never been a fan of rhubarb either– always found it a little weird. However, your pictures are great!

  24. kitchenarian June 18, 2011 at 07:55 #

    I laughed so hard when I read that you call it red celery too! This is definitely not a favorite Dorie recipe of mine, but I am glad that I tried it.

  25. Quay Po Cooks June 18, 2011 at 08:15 #

    It is very had to come by rhubarb here so when I see them, I will buy and sugar them and keep them in the freezer. To do this, I guess I got to go buy some fresh one. This looks amazing! We love rhubarb!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite June 19, 2011 at 20:20 #

      It’s interesting, i never remember seeing rhubarb when I lived in Paris and rarely fresh when I lived in Australia. Now it’s so in fashion I thought it would be everywhere…

  26. Sally June 18, 2011 at 13:27 #

    I cannot find the recipe for roasted rhubarb on either blog.

  27. Paula June 18, 2011 at 13:58 #

    I don’t like rhubarb…at all…even when mixed in with other fruits in pies etc. I had it when I was a child and tried it again as an adult…no go. Happy that you learned how to make a compote through this week’s FFWD though and you photographed your dish wonderfully, the last one especially.

  28. Annapet June 18, 2011 at 15:41 #

    LOL, Mardi on Red Celery. I think the same way, though have yet to try rhubarb. However, from a few readings, I learned oxalic acid, one of my many nemesis is present in rhubarb (leaves only though, but still I shall thread lightly).

    Gorgeous photos ;-).

  29. Betsy June 18, 2011 at 17:31 #

    Red celery = Perfect description! I did like this recipe, but I already liked rhubarb to start with. Great with yogurt. I like your sprinkling of mint leaves too.

  30. Jessica June 18, 2011 at 18:16 #

    Great job on deciding to give something like rhubarb another try! Tastebuds do change over time (sometimes), and it’s always great to experiment. Your dish looks gorgeous!

  31. Ethan June 19, 2011 at 00:51 #

    I’m indifferent to rhubarb. If it’s in a dish, i’ll give it a shot, but I think my life would go on fairly well without it.
    both dishes do look wonderful though!

  32. penny aka jeroxie June 19, 2011 at 04:22 #

    I love rhuburb! Only when it is cooked really well. BUt I love rhuburb.

  33. Anna Johnston June 19, 2011 at 06:10 #

    Heeehheee :) Red celery indeed :) So glad you’ve had a crack at it anyway…. it looks amazing too :)

  34. ironchefman June 19, 2011 at 06:35 #

    I am sort of obsessed with rhubarb, ever since moving from the Northeast to the South and I haven’t been able to find it in years since it won’t grow down here. And it doesn’t seem to be popular enough to import, at least at the grocery stores I shop at.
    I almost never think to use it outside of pies though!

  35. sanya June 19, 2011 at 08:17 #

    Love you photos! They are beautiful!
    I understand what you’re saying, I think I like the idea of rhubarb more than the rhubarb itself! I’ve always associated it with homey, baking and rustic cooking. All great things!

  36. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen June 19, 2011 at 09:09 #

    Oh well that’s too bad. I was hoping roasted rhubarb would have converted you into a rhubarb lover too. It’s definitely one of my favorite ways to make it, but I agree with you that it does have a bit of a mushy stringy texture to it.

  37. Stella June 19, 2011 at 09:54 #

    Mardi, in all honesty, I didn’t like rhubarb before this season, and for all the same reasons. But the farmers were bringing baskets to the restaurant, and they were so beautiful, that I knew I had some kind of culinary obligation to figure out a solution. I was oh so surprised to actually make a tasty batch. I do think half the key is serving rhubarb with something fatty and rich…

  38. PolaM June 19, 2011 at 11:33 #

    This looks great! I am not to keen on the consistency of cooked rhubarb either, so I made jam with mine. But I think I think I’ll give a try to the roasted version!

  39. Magic of Spice June 20, 2011 at 18:19 #

    Yes very pretty indeed :) The dish seems to have textures and flavors that are lovely together, but certainly an acquired taste. I think you did a wonderful job! And the compote sounds delightful as well, especially if it turned over a non-rhubarb lover into a bit of a fan :)

  40. Yuri June 20, 2011 at 19:27 #

    I’ve never tried rhubarb, so curious about it! No rhubarb = no FFwD for me last week. Love your photos as always :)

  41. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts June 20, 2011 at 22:35 #

    Shhh don’t tell anyone, but I too am not a fan of rhubarb. Impressed you tried it anyway!

  42. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction June 22, 2011 at 20:47 #

    It seems that there are many people who love rhubarb and many who hate it… Very few in between! I grew up with it, and I do enjoy it… Though, I like it mixed with other fruit and chopped pretty well. Darron hates it, though, so I don’t make much of it around here. I think that rhubarb berry compote sounds just lovely!

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