This here is my new favourite salad dressing. I feel oh-so virtuous when I skip (yes! skip! sometimes..) out to the garden with my wood salad bowl and pluck green leaves from the garden directly into it, then drizzle my greens with creamy rhubarb dressing, made with rhubarb I’ve also yanked out of my own (or my sister’s) soil. I should probably get myself a Little House on the Prairie-style bonnet.
Tart rhubarb makes a perfect base for a vinaigrette, in place of (or along with) whatever acid you’d normally use, like lemon juice. Simmer chopped rhubarb for a few minutes, then puree it with honey, oil and rice vinegar (which isn’t as harsh as other vinegars) – the fibre in the rhubarb will add body to the dressing, but puree perfectly smooth. The result is a lovely pink vinaigrette reminiscent of pink poppyseed dressing – and if you dribble the canola oil into the blender as it’s running, it will thicken and emulsify, like a creamy ranch dressing or aioli. It’s not like a vinaigrette that separates and you have to re-shake before using – it stays pure and smooth and pink and sweet and tangy. Brilliant.
I started out making this with precise measurements, and have since tossed all that aside and simply simmered rhubarb in water, then pureed it with honey, grainy mustard and rice vinegar, and drizzled in canola oil with the motor running. I made vats of the stuff to serve up at the kitchen theatre at the Stampede. Even people who are generally repelled by rhubarb loved it. (Either that or they were just being nice. Thanks guys!)
Adapted (with great thanks!) from vinegartart.com.
1 rhubarb stalk, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar (red wine or raspberry vinegar would work well too)
2 tsp. grainy Dijon mustard (or to taste)
1/4 cup canola or mild olive oil
In a small saucepan, simmer the rhubarb with 1/4 – 1/2 cup water for 5 minutes, or until very soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. (I’ve done it warm too, and it’s just fine.)
Put the rhubarb into a blender with the honey, vinegar and mustard. Pulse until smooth. With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil. Makes about a cup.