Rhubarb is a plant from my childhood. A country girl, we had a huge garden that comprised an orchard, a huge chicken run, room for ducks, a cow and a rambling vegetable garden. Along one fence grew rhubarb, tons and tons of it. Sadly, my mother was not an adventurous cook, and the rhubarb was always sour and stringy. I have never understood people’s passion for this ruby red stalk. It has never made it into our kitchen.
However, this recipe from our current project of cooking through the Ottolenghi cookbook, Plenty More, is intriguing, and the rhubarb is roasted rather than simmered into oblivion (sorry Mum). It is also part of a salad, with no pretensions of being a dessert. The recipe mixes roasted beetroot with the yoghurt and a dressing of maple syrup and pomegranate molasses. Lastly, the rhubarb and gorgonzola cheese are added. Gorgonzola seems such an unlikely addition, but the bite of the cheese and its creaminess pulls the dish together. Magnificent! The cheese adds lively highlight notes to the earthy-sweet-sour of the beetroot and rhubarb.
We’re coming into beet season, and all the different varieties mean you can play with colours and subtlety of flavour. Get golden, red and candy beets (which go pink on cooking) and you’re in for a dazzle.
As mentioned, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.
It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.