It's rhubarb season on the North Fork. It's usually ready at about the same time as strawberries, but this year I heard the strawberry season was very short because of all the rain. The vineyard has a lot of downy mildew as well.
I never liked rhubarb much when I was a kid. Or maybe I just didn't like the way my mother made it. My parents grew it in their garden, and my brother David also liked growing it.
At my restaurant, in Aquebogue, Chef Arie Pavlou buys rhubarb directly from a local farm and plans to make a rhubarb-strawberry sauce for duck, rhubarb-strawberry tarts, and other dishes.
Rhubarb Sauce for Ice Cream
- Large quantity: 10 cups rhubarb and up to 3 cups sugar
- Small quantity: 3 cups rhubarb and up to 1 cup sugar
- Optional ingredients: Grand Marnier, orange juice, grated orange rind, and/or a teaspoon of cinnamon or vanilla
Clean the rhubarb stalks and cut into very thin slices. For the smaller recipe, melt some butter in a skillet and then add the sliced rhubarb and about half the sugar, cover, and cook on a low-medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 10-15 minutes until the rhubarb is soft.
For the larger recipe, you'll probably need a large saucepan with a lid -cover the saucepan while cooking. Check once in a while, stirring the rhubarb around. Cook for about a half hour, till soft.
Add more sugar to taste. Add any of the optional ingredients as well. Serve warm or cool over vanilla ice cream.