Saturday, 3 September 2011

RHUBARB often overlooked but so versatile

I had always believed rhubarb leaves were poisonous which, if you believe the experts who compiled Larousse Gastronomique, the French food bible, is only an old wives' tale. Not that they advise cooking them They just say the leaves are a laxative. Just how much of one I can't tell you. Maybe its this medicinal property which gave rise to the story. Rhubarb was in fact used as a medicine for hundreds of years until some enterprising cook decided to cook the stalks and sweeten them. I wouldn't be surprised if the cook was English and knowing their passion for pies used the rhubarb as a filling with a little powdered ginger or cinnamon.

My preference is for rhubarb cooked with strawberries or even raspberries which really is a heavenly combination and the colour enough to gladden anyone's heart. Perfect with cream, yoghurt, icecream, meringues and even in a pie or open tart. But have you tried rhubarb cooked with a little fresh ginger with duck? Its so good. Of course it must be sweetened with
sugar or even honey and only cooked for a minute or two. You can even combine it with fennel cut into small pieces. And don't forget to lightly slit the duck skin and rub in some spices for a real taste sensation. And by the way just ask the fruiterer to cut off the rhubarb leaves.