Rhubarb…is it a fruit or vegetable?
Growing up in Taiwan, Rhubarb and I have never cross path. Majority of the people there probably have never heard of this perennial. As a teenager, I wasn’t an adventurous eater so I stuck with what I liked when dining out. My strong affinity to food and cooking started right before college, and I think it wasn’t until my 3rd year in college when I had my first taste of a strawberry rhubarb pie.
Still, I have never tried to cook with rhubarb, until I opened up the last month’s produce box. Bam, there they were. Four beautifu red stalks alongside with a basket of strawberries. I think the message was quite clear. I looked up some pie recipes but decided to go with the Barefoot Contessa’s strawberry rhubarb crisp (mainly due to how failproof her recipes are and they always turn out delicious and wonderful.) The acidity and tartness that rhubarb adds enhances the strawberry’s natural sweetness, plus cooked fruit is so much more fragrant and scrumptious.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp (by Ina Garten)
*Of course I made some adjustment to the amount of sugar added, and I used individual ramekins instead of one baking dish. The crisps were pretty tart, but were perfect after the addition of vanilla ice cream.
4 cups fresh rhubarb, 1-inch diced (4 to 5 stalks)
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved, if large
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (I used a little less than 1 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal, such as McCann’s
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- For the fruit, toss the rhubarb, strawberries, 3/4 cup (I used 1/2 cup) of the granulated sugar and the orange zest together in a large bowl. In a measuring cup, dissolve the cornstarch in the orange juice and then mix it into the fruit. Pour the mixture into an 8-by-11-inch baking dish and place it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (or divide the mixture into 6-8 individual ramekins)
- For the topping, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, salt and oatmeal. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter and mix until the dry ingredients are moist and the mixture is in crumbles. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit, covering it completely, and bake for 1 hour, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream. (baking time may be less when using individual ramekins. Mine took about 45 minutes)