Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rhubarb Salad with Goat Cheese

Small garden update, more to come later! Since we've had some cold weather lately, the tomatoes and peppers have slowed down, but that means the lettuce and peas are taking off! So far, just flowers on the peas, but we're hoping to see them start maturing here soon.

I've been dipping into our little garden patch we set up on the side of the yard, pulling off lettuce and spinach leaves here or there when needed to fill in for whatever dish I was making. This afternoon though, I went out to harvest quite the large bowl of spinach (go slow-bolting plants!), along with stopping by the rhubarb to pull out a few stalks.

Rhubarb and spinach? Together? You bet! We took both of them so we could take rhubarb in a slightly more savory direction with this Rhubarb Salad with Goat Cheese!

To shave the tartness off the rhubarb, we sliced the stalks into chunky pieces and tossed them with enough honey to coat just before they went into the oven. I would suggest trying to find stalks that are roughly the same size, while also being not too thick and fibrous to allow the pieces to cook evenly. It took less than 5 minutes in the hot oven for the rhubarb to go from firm to just tender enough that they were soft, yet still held their shape - you don't want them to turn mushy.

Since you don't want to work with pipping hot rhubarb, while it was cooling down, we made a clean dressing by whisking together olive oil with an equal amount of tangy white balsamic vinegar. If all you have is regular, dark balsamic, that would certainly be fine to us... the white is really used for aesthetic reasons, though it does feel a bit more sweet as well. With plenty of tender textures already happening between the rhubarb and spinach, the salad was aching for a crunchy contrast... which came in the form of thinly sliced fennel! Tossed together with the modest dressing, the salad was complete with a smattering of creamy goat cheese crumbles and a handful of toasted walnuts.

Delightful, with a notable spring influence, I was happily surprised how the licorice-y notes from the fennel playfully bounced off the tamed rhubarb to create an energizing salad that had us slowing down to savor each bite. If I had arugula around, its peppery quality would have been a nice compliment, but the homegrown spinach did the deed quite well on its own. I have to say, it is quite satisfying having only to walk out the back door, snapping fresh ingredients you need right off the plants, to complete a meal!


  1. Oh no fair! You're only 150 farther south than me and you have pea flowers! My peas are only 1" tall! :o

    Tho the mound of rhubarb is pretty impressive and you've been supplying many o'nice rhubarb recipe. ;)

  2. That is one beautiful salad. Just lovely. Now... if I can convince hubby to ever try

  3. Kristin - Have you guys even gotten out the 50s and 60s the past few weeks?

    Mags - He's never had it before?

  4. You're lucky - my spinach bolted BIG time last week. The stuff I'd started earlier had provided some additional salad fodder, but the later planted stuff (filling in some gaps), went pretty much from seedling to bolting. I guess I'm done with spinach for the spring. I'm also trying malabar spinach - a vining plant that's supposed to taste like spinach and handles the heat (according to the advertising) - so we'll see how that goes.

  5. I am so jealous of your gorgeous garden and even more gorgeous produce! That is one of the down sides to apt living...

    Last weekend at the Minneapolis farmers market I was able to get both local organic spinach and rhubarb, so hopefully this weekend will be the same. The salad is beautiful!


  6. You know I was just thinking that there has to be some savory way to use rhubarb, and now you have shown me. Perfect timing.

  7. Jeph - I'll have to check into the malabar spinach... it sounds fun!

    Courtney - I need to head back there myself!

    Heather - Lots of ways to work in some of those tangy stalks!

  8. That is beautiful! May we post this recipe on our website?

  9. MFM - I don't mind, especially if you have room for a link back or credit. Thanks for visiting!