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Author Notes: Rhubarb made its first spring appearance at our local farmers market this weekend. I brought home one bunch and stewed it with a little water and turbinado sugar (leftover from making Mrs. Larkin’s prize-winning sugar cookies #2.) After enjoying a few slurps of its sprightly-flavored, melting goodness, I abandoned all thoughts of baking a crisp or cobbler, or of combining it with other fruits. To preserve its essential rhubarb flavor--faintly sweet yet tangy-- and flow, I improvised a creamy soup, served with homemade Challah croutons for a contrasting, buttery crunch. The crouton directions are given for one piece of bread, yielding two servings. For four or six servings, use two or three pieces of bread, and double or triple the amount of butter and oil. —AppleAnnie
For the rhubarb bisque
- 6 stalks of fresh rhubarb, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
- 6 ounces canned coconut milk (not lowfat)
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup (or granulated sugar)
- 1 tablespoon calvados
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Croutons (for 2 servings)
- 1 piece thick slice of raisin challah (or other raisin or egg bread), crust trimmed off and cut into 1- inch squares
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons toasted walnut oil
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt (especially if butter is unsalted)
- Combine water, sugar, and rhubarb in a covered pan and cook over medium heat until rhubarb has softened almost completely.
- Remove from heat, and add the agave syrup or granulated sugar, followed by the coconut milk.
- After the soup has cooled down, stir in the vanilla and calvados.
- Serve chilled with homemade Challah croutons floating on top of the bisque .
- Croutons (for two servings): Melt butter in a nonstick pan. Add the walnut oil and salt, and blend with a heatproof spatula.
- Place the bread so that each square is in direct contact with the bottom of the pan. Sautee the croutons over medium heat a minute or two until bottom sides are crisp and browned.
- Turn the squares over and cook until the other sides have browned.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Rhubarb