After Harriet scorned my pickled rhubarb (which I’ll write about later), I asked what she preferred to do with rhubarb. I liked her answer: She macerates cut rhubarb in sugar overnight, she said, and cooks the mixture briefly in the morning. When the rhubarb starts to soften, she stirs in some strawberries and let’s them just heat through, so they color the sauce but keep their shape. That’s it–she then serves forth her strawberry-studded pink rhubarb sauce.
So I tried Harriet’s recipe for breakfast the next day. Here’s my interpretation:
1 pound rhubarb, cut crosswise about ¾ inch thick
1/3 cup sugar
1 pound strawberries, hulled
Mix the rhubarb and sugar in a bowl, cover the bowl, and let it stand at room temperature overnight.
In the morning, the sugar will have turned to syrup. Turn the rhubarb and syrup out into a saucepan, and simmer the rhubarb, uncovered, stirring it occasionally and gently, until it becomes tender (at which point it will begin falling apart), about 6 minutes.
While the rhubarb cooks, halve or quarter any of the strawberries that are large or not fully ripe. Leave small, ripe strawberries whole.
Add the strawberries to the pan of rhubarb. Simmer the mixture about 4 minutes, until the strawberries are just tender.
Serve the sauce immediately, or let it cool. If you must gild the lily, flavor the sauce with rosewater or perhaps some maraschino. For a formal dessert, the sauce goes well with ice cream, custard, or cake.