The Dish | Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Rhubarb in the markets around here is a sign that spring has sprung. It’s also when my husband starts concocting myriad ways to serve up this jewel-colored, sweet-tart delicacy. Sometimes it’s the basis for a crisp or a sunken fruit pudding cake, but the rhubarb itself almost always gets its start from some approximation of the recipe below (with props to Melissa Clark of NYT Cooking) — which is infinitely flexible. Serve it over anything from breakfast (yogurt and granola, on toast!) to dessert — ice cream, cheesecake, angel food or pound cake — or what have you. Yum.

  • ¾ pound rhubarb, cubed (about 3 to 4 cups)
  • Quart (or more) of fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • ½ – ¾ cup granulated sugar (or to taste…depends on your sweet tooth)
  • Lemon zest from one lemon, plus juice to taste
  • Optional: grated ginger, a tablespoon +/- to taste (ginger flavor will mellow out)
  • Optional: 1 tsp vanilla
  • In a saucepan, combine rhubarb and strawberries with sugar, along with zest and any optional seasonings over low heat.
  • For the plain rhubarb variation of this recipe, Clark instructs: “When the rhubarb starts to soften, but before it falls apart, about 5-10 minutes, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a bowl.” We are lazier in our house and just let the whole thing cook for 15 min or so, per the last step below. Your rhubarb won’t be quite as crisp, but the flavor still can’t be beat.
  • Adjust any seasonings — sweet, lemon, ginger — to taste and/or as needed
  • Cook down the remaining liquid in the pan until it thickens and turns syrupy, about 5 minutes longer. (This condenses and intensifies the rhubarb flavor.) Add the syrup to the bowl with the fruit and let cool. Compote will keep for at least a week in the fridge.

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