Poaching allows rhubarb to keep some of its integrity, something that I think we should allow all our food to do. If you use larger pieces of rhubab for dramatic effect, as pictured here, make sure you poach it longer. The colors of this dish are pink, green, and sexy, and the fragrant aromas of lemongrass and orange zest bring a balance and depth to it. This is wonderful served cold in the summer months.
- Yield: 4 CUPS (2 KG)
- 2 lb (910 g) fresh rhubarb, preferably thin stalks
- 2 fresh lemongrass stalks
- 15 g about a 2-in (5-cm) piece fresh ginger
- 8½ cups (2 kg) water
- 3¼ cups (650 g) granulated sugar
- 3 in (5-cm) strips orange zest
- ¼ cup (75 g) grenadine syrup
- Tahitian Vanilla Bean Ice Cream or Strawberry-Lime Sorbet for serving
- Rinse the rhubarb under cool water and cut it into ¼ in (6-mm) slices. If very thick, use a paring knife to cut the stalks in half lengthwise to about ½ in (1 cm) thick. Place the rhubarb pieces into a medium bowl and set aside. Cut the lemongrass into 1-in (2.5-cm) slices. Lay the flat side of a knife on the slices and push down to smash and flatten them. Set aside. Peel the ginger and cut it into 1-in (2.5-cm) pieces. Set aside.
- In a straight-sided, stainless-steel or enamelcoated saucepan, 10 in (25 cm) in diameter, combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes to reduce into a light syrup.
- Add the lemongrass, orange zest strips, and ginger to the saucepan with the syrup, remove from the heat, cover, and infuse for 1 hour. Add the grenadine syrup and bring the ingredients to a rolling boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the rhubarb, and use a rubber spatula to toss the rhubarb so that it is coated in the syrup. Cover and let sit to allow the hot liquid to poach the rhubarb. After 1 hour, remove the lid and check for doneness by poking the rhubarb with a paring knife or fork. The rhubarb should be just al dente and should resist the poke a little bit. If more cooking time is needed, return the saucepan to the stove and heat for 2 minutes, or until the liquid is simmering. Again remove the saucepan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 10 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Cover the saucepan and let cool to room temperature. Place all the ingredients into an airtight container and put it into the refrigerator to chill completely. Serve cold over ice cream.