Why use it and where to use it.
Why? Because it's delicious!
Where? I love rhubarb in crisps & pies personally.
I usually make at least one strawberry-rhubarb cobbler each year. I like tartness so the combination is perfect for me. Of course the rhubarb is sugared up. There is something about the taste that is like a spring tonic to me. I'd like to use it more. I might make a compote to stir into yogurt. And I've seen it used in savory dishes such as pork roast that sounds good to me.
I've been cooking rhubarb for more than 50 years, and there's still lots to learn! Last night I made an end-of-winter, peek-into-spring, savory rhubarb and rabbit that still has me dancing. Last summer in Sweden, I had a crunchy (!) rhubarb dessert with cardamom and yogurt that thrilled me all over again when I made something like it back here at home. It's a vegetable and a fruit. It's all sour but can be sweet. It can have form, or (like last night's rabbit) it can melt into a sauce.
What was the question?
Growing up we had a simple rhubarb compote from stalks that grew right outside our kitchen, and strawberry and rhubarb pies.
Traditionally rhubarb was one of the first things that came up in the garden, so it was an important spring food product. I cannot imagine going all winter without any fresh fruits or vegetables. I would have gobbled up all the rhubarb I could get my hands on. It's great both sweet or savory. I've made a salsa verde using rhubarb instead of tomatillos which turned out great.
I agree with all the above. In addition, I like to stew rhubarb and serve it like you would applesauce as a side dish. Coarsely chop the rhubarb (in big enough chunks that it all will not disintegrate). Add sugar to taste and simmer until it's cooked down into a chunky sauce. I often add apples, oranges, ginger, nuts, berries...mix and match...whatever I have on hand. This is great with pork and I love it dolloped on oatmeal in the morning.
I love rhubarb in many incarnations. When it is in season, I make go on a rhubarb love-fest, making rhubarb snack cake, rhubarb muffins, rhubarb and strawberry crisp, rhubarb fool, you name it. Rhubarb is also delicious in savory applications. Jamie Oliver has a recipe where you roast pork on top of a bed of rhubarb. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/kiwi_kitchen/86878 The only addition that I would make to this is add a little sweetener to the rhubarb before roasting. Otherwise, it is pretty tart. There are more rhubarb recipes in Oliver's cookbook, Jamie at Home. Nigella Lawson's cookbooks also feature a multitude of rhubarb recipes. Also, do checkout this food52 link. http://www.food52.com/recipes... Last year the site hosted a rhubarb contest. The winning recipe Rhubarb Curd Shortbread is really divine!
I made a lovely rhubarb drink a couple summers ago.
Persian Rhubarb drink
This one is made from a syrup, or sherbet in Persian. And now’s the time, since rhubarb is in season. You can also pick lots of rhubarb, chop it, and freeze for a later date. The frozen rhubarb gets a little mushy, so it’s not ideal for pie or crisp, but great for something like this drink.
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup water
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup fresh lime juice
fresh mint sprigs
In a stainless steel saucepan, bring the rhubarb and water to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer for about 1/2 hour. Strain, discard the fiber, and return to the pan, with the sugar and lime juice. Simmer on low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer another 1/2 hour, until it looks syrupy. Strain into a glass bowl and cool.
To make the drink, combine about 1 cup syrup with 4 cups ice water, stir, and taste. If it’s too strong, add more water, and add more syrup if you like it stronger. Pour over into ice-filled cups and add a sprig of mint.