Marisa Renwald: Rhubarb-ginger adds new dimension
Marisa Renwald April 23, 2012 4:30PM
Updated: May 26, 2012 8:05AM
We’re so used to pairing rhubarb with strawberry that we sometimes forget that the flavor is quite extraordinary when it stands alone — or even better — when yoked to another complementary ingredient. In fact, the strawberry-rhubarb combo is actually an American invention and is considered commonplace (and almost mandatory) for rhubarb when it gets the full baking treatment.
But the British celebrate another classic rhubarb combination that really rivals our traditional strawberry-rhubarb pairing: rhubarb and ginger. An unusual medley, we don’t get to taste it that often since our own flavor combo takes precedence over the European version. Tart and bold with a slight punch of heat, rhubarb-ginger takes the typified flavor into a completely new dimension. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact new taste, but strawberry-rhubarb it surely is not.
Cult recipes headlining rhubarb and ginger are often bound to jams and preserves, although gelato, crumbles and even cheesecakes feature the combo. Spicy with the bite of ginger and sweetly sour with the classic rhubarb taste, the blend melds nicely with a lot of rich flavors.
This recipe for oatmeal with rhubarb-ginger topping gives you an excuse to use your garden’s first spring bumper crop in a way that takes rhubarb out of the mundane. Forget the strawberries this time around. Instead, drizzle a few spoonfuls of hot rhubarb-ginger sauce on a classic baked oatmeal.
Smooth with vanilla, brown sugar and the effervescent taste of crystallized (or ground) ginger, the sauce stands out in its own way. If breakfast has passed, skip the oatmeal and whip up this tasty treat to top a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream — the perfect ending to a warm spring evening.
2 cups quick oats, uncooked
1/3 cup granulated sugar
31/3 cups milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Heat oven to 350º F. Spray 8-inch square glass baking dish with cooking spray.
In large bowl, combine oats and granulated sugar. In medium bowl, combine milk, egg yolks, vanilla and nutmeg; mix well. Add to oat mixture; mix well. Pour into baking dish.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until center jiggles slightly. Remove from oven to cooling rack.
Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over top of oatmeal. Using back of spoon, gently spread sugar into a thin layer across entire surface of oatmeal. Return to oven; bake just until sugar melts, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set oven to broil. Broil 3 inches from heat until sugar bubbles and browns slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon into bowls and serve with rhubarb ginger topping.
Recipe adapted from
3 cups diced fresh rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped (or 1 piece fresh ginger, peeled, smashed and chopped)
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup cold water, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
In a large saucepan, bring the rhubarb, sugar, ginger and 2 tablespoons water to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until rhubarb is tender, about 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch and remaining water until smooth. Stir into rhubarb mixture. Add vanilla. Bring to a boil and cook just until thickened.