I have an obsession with rhubarb. In June, when the tangy stalks and strawberries come into their prime, I make my first pie of the season: a lattice-topped treat that I serve with ice cream. During the remaining summer months, I turn the vegetable into compote, sauces, quick breads, and lately, even pickles (thanks to Canadian chef David McMillan's cookbook The Art of Living According to Joe Beef).
My obsession extends to restaurant menus: If rhubarb appears in a dish—be it sweet or savory—I will order it. A recent discovery is Strings Restaurant's strawberry-rhubarb buttermilk panna cotta. Executive chef Pippa Taylor serves the dessert parfait-style with crunchy almond crumble on top and creamy panna cotta layered in between strawberry coulis and strawberry-rhubarb compote. (The ideal bite comes when you dig deep enough to get all of the layers in one spoonful.) The almond-flour linzertorte cookie (made with strawberry preserves instead of raspberry) is an added bonus.
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Photo courtesy of Alan Hill