Saturday, May 5, 2012

Rhubarb Sauce

 When I was a little girl, at this time of year you could always find a bowl of this sauce cooling on our kitchen counter at least once a week.

 My papa was a wonderful cook. He never used a cookbook or a written recipe. He cooked from experience.

 His dad and uncle were butchers and he grew up at their heels learning the trade.  He went on to work for the railroad but he continued to cook for the rest of his life.  I remember him broiling swordfish and picking the bones out with a set of pliers.  And he roasted a leg of lamb better than I have ever tasted since he died when I was 11.

 I have a great taste memory and can still recreate his recipes.

 Though making rhubarb sauce is simple, he had a few tricks for taking it over the top.  The right amount of sugar is very important.  Most recipes call for way too much sugar which ends up ruining the unique taste of the rhubarb.  If I have strawberries available I throw them in to.  This recipe calls for 10 large stalks of rhubarb and a pint of strawberries.  I use only 1/4 cup of sugar.  Also, zest the rind of one lemon into it. 

 Cover and cook over medium heat.

 It will start to boil.  Lower the heat to simmer and stir it from time to time.

 When the fruit has softened, use a pastry cutter or a potato masher to puree it.  I like to leave small chunks.

 Papa always put a pat of butter on top and stirred it in after it melted.

On toasted homemade bread it is fantastic.  Papa and I always butter the toast first.