I love rhubarb.
It reminds me of Grandpa and the house down by the beach where he and Sally-Nana used to live. The tangy-astringent sweet red syrup that it makes when cooked is like no other taste. For me, it is the taste of spring segueing into summer and make me long for things that you can only have in the summer like grilled corn, or peppermint stick ice cream, the smell of coconut tanning oil, cool cotton sheets, freshly mown grass, the feel of seawater salt drying on the skin.
Granted these are things you can have year-round, but in New England it is only truly appreciable during the fleeting summer months.
So all that being said, it is really hard for me to pass by rhubarb in the market without buying a couple of stalks.
And usually I have every fabulous intention of making a rhubarb "pizza" or sorbet or schnapps but invariably I just end up roasting it as it is the fastest route from raw to mouth.
The one thing I have noticed is that rhubarb has that same weird effect on my teeth as spinach - a peculiar stripped feeling. A quick Google search brought up the reason: oxalic acid. Yep, the same thing in spinach, and in beets and cocoa and some other stuff. Which is weird because sometimes I don't notice it at all and other times it feels like the enamel is totally stripped away.
Anyway, here's how I (and tons of other people) cook rhubarb:
Yes, my kitchen counter is really teeny. But I actually prefer that.
Ok, so ingredients: rhubarb and sugar. Optional ingredients: a blood orange, some flabby strawberries that were about to turn, vanilla, and salt.
Chop the rhubarb into about 1" pieces. Hull and quarter the strawberries, if using.
Toss with about half a cup of sugar. I also added the zest and juice of one blood orange, a splash of vanilla, and a small pinch of salt.
Throw it all into a oven-proof dish and then into a 375 degree oven.
Cook it for an hour or so. I don't really time it. Sometimes I forget how long the pan has been in the oven, but unless it is raw or burnt I am happy with the results.
Ahhhh mighty mighty rhubarb! I usually just eat it all right away, but I promised some to La Maman. And I wanted to try it after all the flavors came together for a few hours.