I don’t think I knew about rhubarb when I was a kid. But I have read about and romanticized the childhood pleasure of being sent outside with a bowl of sugar to dunk the tart whole stalks as an afternoon treat. Did you get to do that?
This compote is like a grown-up version of what I imagine that sweet-crunchy experience to be. I especially like to make it with green rhubarb, which turns a dingy beige color when cooked; leaving it raw instead preserves the gem-green color and lets the occasional pink highlight shine. The flavor is very bright, tart and sweet at once, and if you are feeling adventurous the recipe (from Rustic Fruit Desserts, again) smartly suggests infusing the compote with fresh rosemary or lavender. I always mean to try that, but it’s so good as is that I never have.
Likewise, I’m not too creative about serving this dish. We usually scoop spoonfuls over yogurt, maybe with a little granola (like this one with orange zest and currants) sprinkled on top. What other ideas do you have? I have a big bowl in my fridge.
Raw Rhubarb Compote: Trim the leaves and ends from enough stalks of rhubarb to equal about 1 1/2 lbs. Slice the stalks lengthwise into 1/4″ lengths, then chop crosswise to make 1/4″ dice. Add the juice of half an orange (about 1/4 c.) and 1/2 c. sugar. Stir to combine completely, then leave out on the counter overnight (or at least 6 hours). Stir again and serve over yogurt, or transfer to fridge for longer term storage.