Rhubarb stands alongside radishes as the first fresh produce of spring. Oftentimes forgotten, if finds its most frequent place in pies. But these tart stalks offer so much more! For the eye as well as for the palate.

I recommend picking stalks that are red or pink, although sometimes you just have to make do with green ones. The pink ones will look prettier, especially in desserts, although the green ones taste just as good. You can get rhubarb at farmers’ markets and in supermarkets.

If there’s one thing you shouldn’t do with rhubarb, it’s peel it. I’ve surprised many people at my get-togethers with this simple rule. No peeling, huh? People wondered. No peeling. It’s not necessary. One, you’re getting rid of the beautiful colour, and two, the pieces will fall apart when we don’t want them to.

What you definitely should do, however, is cook the rhubarb. (Don’t use copper pots, as they react with oxalic acid.) Cut it into smaller pieces for jams, bigger pieces will do for compotes.
The beautiful pink colour in this recipe is due not only to rhubarb’s natural hue, but also to the addition of rose water, which lends an unmistakeably refined aroma. If the smell of rose water evokes the overly strong perfume of your grandmother, don’t fear. The rosy embrace becomes the rhubarb very well. And I’m certain that you’ll appreciate the simple rhubarb minimalism of this recipe.


Pink Roasted Rhubarb Compote with Greek Yoghurt

Ingredients

Serves 2
Preparation 20 min. + chilling

2 stalks rhubarb, i.e. 300g after chopping off the ends
50g sugar
¼ tsp rose extract (I use Nielsen-Massey extract)
200g Greek yoghurt

Method

Wash the rhubarb (don’t dry it, that way the sugar will cling to it better) and chop it into diagonal strips about 3cm thick. Toss in a bowl with the sugar and rose water. Never peel the rhubarb, you would loose nice color.

Spread the rhubarb in one layer on a baking tray. Place in an oven pre-heated to 180C and bake for 15 minutes. The rhubarb must be firm, but easily pierced with a knife. If the sugar hasn’t dissolved, stir everything gently and leave in the oven (now switched off) for another 2-3 minutes.

Let the rhubarb cool for at least half an hour, and serve it in a bowl with Greek yoghurt (alternatively, you can use quark or sour cream).