I always knew there were different varieties of strawberries, of course, there are varieties of every plant. But it isn’t something I’ve ever really thought about. Until my conversation yesterday with a nice man at at company called BriteRoll. Elissa and I were there doing a strawberry tasting with Good Eggs. Yes, a strawberry tasting. Celebrate the season! We were sampling Albion berries and Seascape berries. I realize I could talk for a while about these varieties of berries but I am going to spare you the details. You can look it up if you are interested. I like the texture of Albions and the flavor of Seascape. Seacape berries are dreamy and a little harder to come by I think.
Then there is Rhubarb. I love how these two seasons go hand in hand. Every year I buy at least five pounds of it and there it sits in the refrigerator calling to me. J also calls to me to do something with the $20 worth of rhubarb I had to have. So I woke up this morning at 5:45am and started hulling berries and slicing rhubarb. I cruised through a few recipe books, vacillated over a buttermilk cake and a spritzer. I landed on my old favorite, a compote that we can use over yogurt with granola (aka my go-to meal). I think it will be nice on ice cream, pancakes, creme fraiche, folded into cream as a simple seasonal dessert… called a “fool” (I love that).
I hope to post more about our trip in Italy, France and Spain but I at least wanted to get some wedding photos up on here for you to see! They are at the bottom of this post. So if you hate Rhubarb, skip to the photos and if you aren’t really the wedding photo type, stop after the recipe. :)
I used a really expensive Hungarian dessert wine called Tokaji. You can really tell, it tastes so good. J, however, woke up a little later and saw the bottle sitting out practically empty. I am not sure his sentiments about enjoying it with Rhubarb are quite the same as mine, but it’s what we had in the fridge! I will say, use a good dessert wine, it seems to be worth it.
I wanted to highlight the seasonal berries and rhubarb (and my really expensive Tokaij) so I chose not to spice up my version here. However, you can certainly spice this compote if you please. Just add in some peeled ginger, peels of orange, vanilla bean, zest of lemon or even lime. Also nice would be a teaspoon or two of rose water, lemon, lime or orange juice (add these at the end, after you remove from the heat).
2.5 pounds of fresh rhubarb leaves removed, washed and copped roughly into 1 inch segments
1 pound plus a few extra fresh strawberries (get ’em local if you can!) washed, hulled and quartered (feel free to use your not so sweet ones or those that might be near fermenting they are so ripe)
2 cups drinking water
1/2 cup of white dessert wine
1 cup organic brown sugar
1 big spoonful of honey
As David notes, use a large non-reactive sauce pot or pan.
Slowly heat up the water, wine, sugar and honey. I have an electric stove (bleh) so I tend to cook everything really slowly.
Heat on medium-low until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is just starting to simmer.
Carefully put in all of the rhubarb and stir. Let this simmer for about five minutes on medium-low. Cover the pot and simmer for another five minutes on medium-low. Uncover, plop in the strawberries and simmer on low another five minutes. I stopped there. The Rhubarb was soft and had completely fallen apart, the berries were plump yet totally supple. I wanted to taste the Tokaji yet still be appropriate for breakfast (not too boozy). Taste as you go (careful, hot!) and see what you think. You can keep simmering on low to really release all the alcohol flavor and to cook down and thicken the compote. Up to you!