The first CSA box of the season was stuffed full of spring veggies like lettuce, beets, radishes and rhubarb. RHUBARB! Aghhhh! In over two decades of living in New England, I’ve managed to stay away from all but one small taste in a strawberry-rhubarb jam. I’ve had zero interest in something that looked like celery left to sit in red food coloring and then made into dessert. Alas, there it was – one pound of it.
To figure out what to do with it, I asked those of you on my Facebook page. I got fantastic answers like compote, sorbet and pie…all desserts. So I tried a dessert. I took a few stalks of my rhubarb and made a rhubarb upside down cake. It was delicious, but the sugar overpowered the rhubarb. If you want to make one, may I suggest this one which I did not make – I should have!
As I pinched the last few crumbs of the sugary cake between my fingers on the way to my mouth, I decided I didn’t want dessert. I liked the rhubarb without the sugar. Yeah, it was tart, but good tart, not straight-up-biting-into-a-whole-lemon tart. Besides, I had all these other veggies and so many greens! SOOOOO many greens. The first box not only had two of the largest heads of romaine I’ve ever seen, but it also had mustard greens and Russian red kale. I needed a salad!
Here’s what I came up with. I’ve made this now with kale and with Romaine and both are wonderful. I used Russian red kale which is delicate and tender compared to heartier varieties like the ever-popular Lacinato kale. As long as you remove the stems and cut the kale very finely any kale will do, and heartier greens will hold up to the dressing well. I cut the round veggies into smaller pieces because I’m a big fan of getting a little of everything in every bite, but there is no real need to fuss over it if you are in a hurry. Pecans and goat cheese add a little decadence to this salad that make it ever so rich and satisfying. The rhubarb is not just another element of this salad, it adds tart crunch too. It plays off the sweetness of the honey in the dressing and the beets and counteracts the bite of the radishes and the greens. I’m amazed that I like it. Add another veggie to the like column for me. It does this stalk veggies everywhere proud. You’ll think so too. Enjoy!