Amanda & Merrill

Rhubarb Blood Orange

March 12, 2010

- Amanda

I love flavor combinations that rely on the vagaries of nature for their growing seasons to overlap. Undependable and fleeting, they're like the friend who you can never count on to show up but who always charms you when he does. You find them in asparagus and zucchini, lemon verbena and blueberries and at this time of year, rhubarb and blood orange.

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It was around the time we decided to run a blood orange theme on the site that Rose Gray, the chef with Ruth Rogers of the River Cafe in London, died. And I was reminded of one of my favorite recipes from Gray and Rogers's books, a simple dessert of roasted rhubarb and blood orange glazed with vanilla bean seeds, sugar, and some of the fruits' own juices. Blood oranges and rhubarb also always seemed emblematic of Gray and Rogers's cooking style -- the brave flavors, the generosity, and a lusty palette not often seen on London's gray canvas.

Rhubarb Orange

Adapted from "Italian Two Easy: Simple Recipes From the London River Cafe" by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers

Serves 4

  • 14 ounces rhubarb
  • 1 blood or navel orange
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 3 tablespoons Demerara sugar
  • 2/3 cup creme fraiche

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Cut the rhubarb into 2-to-2 1/2-inch pieces and place in a medium bowl. Finely grate the zest of half the orange over the rhubarb and then squeeze the juice of the whole orange into the bowl. Split the vanilla beans and scrape out the seeds and place both in the bowl. Add the sugar and stir to combine.

2. Pour the rhubarb into a baking dish and arrange the pieces so that they lie flat. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the vanilla pods. Serve with creme fraiche.

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MyCommunalTable March 14, 2010
It is easy to replant rhubard from a few plantings. Every house one of my siblings or I move into gets a fresh planting of rhubard from my mom. The orginal plant has been in my family over a hundred years. I think of its history everytime I pick some.
Amanda H. March 14, 2010
How cool. I think rhubarb is one of the most beautiful plants in a kitchen garden. Also cardoons.
Kelsey B. March 13, 2010
I adore (adore!) rhubarb and usually combine it with strawberries, but I love the idea of the blood orange and vanilla. I have my last bag of frozen rhubarb from last summer and I am going to thaw some to try this!
CatherineTornow March 12, 2010
I'm about to have a rhubarb rendezvous. Oranges and Creme Fraiche are invited too.
Amanda H. March 13, 2010
But will you go out on a second date?
thirschfeld March 12, 2010
Tell Sarah that picture of the rhubarb rocks
Amanda H. March 13, 2010
Will do! She took that last June when were just getting started.
thirschfeld March 12, 2010
It is the simple things thatare oh so delicious. I can't wait to give this a try. Funny I h
the River Cafe never came across my radar and I read her obit in the Times and I said, "go get that book!" and now this recipe. Luckily Barnes and Noble is still open. I am out the door.
MrsWheelbarrow March 12, 2010
Gourmet published something similar to this recipe a few years back. They used the roasted rhubarb to top big fat rectangles of puff pastry, dolloped with creme fraiche.
Amanda H. March 13, 2010
I remember that -- very pretty, and would be so easy to adapt here. Even with regular tart pastry.
gluttonforlife March 12, 2010
I made this for dessert on Easter last year and it's a brilliant herald of spring.
Amanda H. March 13, 2010
mrslarkin March 12, 2010
Simple and delicious, as so many of the River Cafe recipes are. Thanks, Amanda.
Amanda H. March 13, 2010
Yes, I didn't appreciate their books early on -- now a total convert. Just wish I could get porcini like they do.
chez L. March 12, 2010
this sounds so delicious i love rhubarb , thanks for posting, must make it immediately
Amanda H. March 13, 2010
You're welcome -- let me know how you like it.