May is the month when the rhubarbs start to poke through the soil. Now, during late spring and early summer, is also the time when the rhubarb is at its best since they are neat and jam packed with flavors. So I thought – let’s make the most possible use out of it. Last year i cooked up two desserts containing rhubarb. One super simple and insanely yummy rhubarb and raspberry pie and one rhubarb variation, with rhubarb in almost every thinkable way – this definitely qualifies as one of my of top favorite desserts. But today I’m planning something different and maybe a bit unusual – a rhubarb starter. I believe most of us thinks about sweet treats when it comes to this spring primuer but i want to show you that there are other possibilities as well. And even though this is a starter some sweetness is required because sugar or other sweeteners brings out the flavor of the otherwise extremely sour rhubarb. But apart from that trifle this is a salty dish with melted fried cheese, roasted pin nuts and fresh salad.
When I created this dish I wasn’t sure which kind of chess would be the best match with the rhubarb chutney so I fried up three different kinds and we had a little taste test before we announced Manchego to be the winner. The other candidating cheeses were Feta and mature Cheddar; the Cheddar was too over powering and the Feta character didn’t match the chutney as well as I first believed. The Manchego on the other hand completed the sweet, savoury, fruity and spicy notes in the chutney by adding a buttery- herbaceous taste.
A few Swedish bloggers came up with the brilliant idea, of having a blog challenge where one of them represent a fruit or vegetable in season each month. Everyone is welcome to participate and create a vegetarian recipe with the chosen veggie. Rhubarb is the star this month and as you may already have figured out this is my contribution to the recipe collection.
So go ahead and start experimenting, cook up this delicious starter or take a look at what the initiator bloggers made with this months veggie – rhubarb.
Nacho Panned Halloumi Burger with Rhubarb Chutney, Avocado and Jalapeno Mayo
Rhubarb Slush with lime and Elderflower
Summer Sallad with Roasted Rhubarb, Asparagus, Goats Cheese and Quinoa
Vegan Summer Rolls with Pickled Rhubarb
Roasted Fennel, Rhubarb, Radish & Feta Bruschetta
Rhubarb- Strawberry Cheesecake (milk free)
Couscous Sallad with Halloumi and Rhubarb Vinaigrette
Fore even more inspiration check out the hashtag #månadensgröna (the veggie of the month).
Ps. I know this is a vegetarian challenge but I bet the leftover chutney would be great with some grilled chicken or pork. Or maybe on a gratinated portabello for a meatless alternative. Just saying 🙂
Rhubarb Chutney with Fried Manchego, Salt Roasted Pine Nuts and Baby Leaf Lettuce– 4 servings
250 g rhubarb’s
100 g peeled red onion
20 g peeled ginger
1 garlic clove
1 red chilli
20 g red wine vinegar
150 g caster sugar
150 g cheese
Oil for frying
Baby leaf lettuce
Chutney: Cut the rhubarb into 1 cm pieces. Finley chop the red onion, ginger, garlic and chili (I reccomend removing the chili seeds and the white inner parts because you only want a slight heat in the chutney). Bring all the ingredients for the chutney into a pot and let it simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes or until about two third of the chutney remains. Transfer to a clean glass jar and let it cool completely in the fridge before serving.
Cheese: Cut the cheese into strips or wedges. Roll the cheese in flour before dipping in egg and then panko. Repeat the egg and panko part so you end up with two layers that will turn your cheese super crisp when fried. I like to pop the breaded cheese into the freeze until solid frozen because it will delay the cheese from oozing out when fried. Fry the cheese, just before serving, on really high temperature, about 220 °C or until golden and crisp. This will take about a half to one minute. Turn the cheese around while frying so every side will get equally browned. By both freezing and frying on very high heat there is less of a risk of cheese leakage. When frying room tempered cheese in a slightly cooler oil there is a risk of the cheese seeping out in the oil before the outer crust is nicely colored. Drain the cheese on some kitchen paper and add a tiny pinch of salt.
To serve: Roast some pine nuts in a hot, dry pan for just a minute or so or until nicely golden in color. Toss the nuts around occasionally so the get an even color. Place some baby leaf lettuce in the bottom of each plate and pile 3 warm cheese wedges over. Scatter with roasted pine nuts and serve with a dollop or two of chutney.