Martha Stewart Living (May 2014)
We can totally picture the pitch meeting for this recipe at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia HQ:
MARTHA STEWART (let's pretend she actually attends these things), to table of editors: What's next? Okay, the May issue.
EDITOR 1: Right. Well, I've been really wanting to do something highlighting spring pea tendrils.
EDITOR 1: Well, I was just thinking, you know, it's spring, it's warm, they'd be--
MARTHA: No. Who else?
EDITOR 2: Uh, I had thought maybe we could do a seasonal feature on, um, fava beans?
MARTHA: Fava beans? What is this, 2009? Why is no one prepared for this meeting?
EDITOR 3, [meekly]: Um, I did have one, um, idea--
MARTHA: Who's speaking?
EDITOR 3: I, um .. I am?
MARTHA: And? We're all waiting.
EDITOR 3: What about rhubarb---
MARTHA, [witheringly]: Rhubarb?
EDITOR 3: Yes. But ... um .. savory?
MARTHA pauses. The table is silent.
EDITOR 3: And ... roasted?
MARTHA looks at EDITOR 3. As they lock eyes, the faintest hint of a smile crosses MARTHA's face.
MARTHA: Roasted rhubarb. Okay then. Well, I'm glad someone showed up with an actual idea. Now. Who's next?
At least that's how it went in our heads. (We totally know how magazines work.)
Point being, savory roasted rhubarb is a fresh take on a spring staple, and we we eager to try it out for ourselves.
Truth is, this is the sort of recipe that's totally up our alley: Five ingredients, all of them familiar, but prepared in a completely new way. We've seen countless rhubarb recipes over the years, but they're always for desserts and other sweet preparations. (Even a Beet, Rhubarb and Orange Salad we made a few years ago called for first simmering the rhubarb in sugar water.)
So we were more than a little intrigued by the idea of roasting rhubarb right alongside beets, all tossed in olive oil.
One note: We couldn't find baby beets at the market, so we quartered some regular-size golden and red beets. The flavor is the same, but we did find that our bigger beets, even cut into quarters, needed more roasting time than the rhubarb. We ended up taking the rhubarb out first and letting the beets roast another 15 minutes or so, until they were completely tender.
What's the verdict?
We wanted so much to love this, because we were so on board for the idea. But even roasted, the rhubarb was just still incredibly sour. It wasn't inedible, but we found ourselves involuntarily wincing from the tartness of the rhubarb. The sweet roasted beets were a nice counterpoint -- and the walnuts are a really terrific addition -- but it was difficult to overcome the rhubarb.
Despite how much we wanted to like savory roasted rhubarb, we found ourselves longing for some sweetness -- a drizzle of honey, maybe? -- to mellow out the sourness.
Still, we enjoyed the adventurous twist of this dish. It's exactly the kind of new idea we love getting from food magazines.
What about you? Are you a rhubarb fan? Ever cook it in anything other than a dessert or a jam? Ever tried a savory rhubarb recipe? Let us know in the comments!
Slices of rhubarb's ruby stems
Halved baby beets
Salt and pepper
Chopped toasted walnuts
Toss rhubarb slices with olive oil and beets. Season with salt and pepper, and roast at 375 degrees until tender. Top with walnuts to finish.