July 13, 2017

The classic strawberry rhubarb pie is a staple at summer feasts. While most will agree this is an excellent use for the red rhizome, it’s actually incredibly versatile, pairing well with everything from jalapeños to pork tenderloin.

Feeling skeptical about these claims?

Take a swing at these two savory recipes for your next Austin cookout, and give your rhubarb stalks new life as something other than desserts:

Rhubarb salsa

Start with the star ingredient: Dice two medium stalks of rhubarb. Blanch and pat dry.

Then, mix it with the supporting characters: chopped scallions or minced spring onion; minced jalapeño; and halved pickled cocktail onions.

Finally, add some seasoning and texture: honey, apple cider vinegar, salt, and chipotle or cayenne pepper. Top with cilantro.

This salsa pairs well with summery fish tacos, Kitchen Konfidence wrote:

Mix together corn meal, chipotle powder and salt. Roll strips of fish (tilapia works great) in the mixture, then sauté until cooked through and lightly browned. To avoid overcrowding your pan and uneven cooking, do this in batches, setting the finished strips to the side in a heatproof bowl to keep warm.

When all the fish is cooked, add some more oil and fry up some onions in the same pan.

Lay the fish strips across tortillas, top with the onions, then rhubarb salsa and finally more cilantro.

Pork tenderloin with rhubarb-rosé sauce

Heartbeet Kitchen pointed out that rhubarb can make a great topping for grilled pork tenderloin.

Begin by marinating your pork: Mix basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Coat your pork tenderloin with oil so the seasoning mixture sticks. Be sure to cover the entire tenderloin with the combination. Let sit at room temperature for 40 minutes. This is also a good time to turn on the grill, giving it enough time to heat to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chopped rhubarb is often the first step in making the perfect savory rhubarb dish.Chop up a few stalks of rhubarb to begin your rhubarb-rosé sauce.

While the pork marinates, make the rhubarb-rosé sauce. Chop up three stalks of rhubarb and put into a sauce pan. Add rosé, green onion, honey, black pepper, crushed cardamom pods and a cinnamon stick.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about a half hour, or until the rhubarb breaks apart and the sauce begins to thicken.

Remove the cardamom and cinnamon, then pour the mixture into a blender and purée until mostly smooth. Pour it back into the saucepan and simmer for another 15 minutes.

The pork should be done marinating by this time. Put it directly on the 500-degree grill, let sear, then drop the heat to medium-high. The meat is done when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, though you can remove from the grill when it reaches 140 degrees. If you do this, though, be sure to let rest until the residual heat finishes cooking the meat thoroughly; use a meat thermometer to double-check doneness.

Once the pork is finished, slice up, coat with the rhubarb-rosé sauce and serve warm.

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