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Who’s ready for rhubarb!?

Pastry chef Francois Payard prepares recipes for the misunderstood vegetable.
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Get ready for Rhubarb mania! This widely misunderstood vegetable can intimidate the best of cooks. But since June is the season for rhubarb, why not prepare this strange fruit for your table tonight? Renowned pastry chef and owner of Payard Patisserie & Bistro chef Francois Payard shows how to prepare an entire meal with rhubarb.


Serves 6

Ingredients for Phyllo

4 sheets phyllo dough

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup clarified butter melted

1/2 cup honey lavender

To Make Phyllo

Lightly brush one sheet of phyllo with clarified butter and honey lavender and sprinkle with sugar. Press second sheet of phyllo on top of first sheet and firmly press. Repeat previous steps of butter and sugar on remaining phyllo.

Lay phyllo stack lengthwise and trim top and bottom edges. Cut into 3 equal strips from left to right.

Cut each strip on the diagonal to form triangles. Each base should be 2 inches wide. Place triangles on a baking sheet and be sure to leave about 2 inches between each triangle.

Bake at 365F for 7-12 minutes or until Phyllo is dark and golden brown.


Ingredients For Poached Rhubarb:

2 quarts of water

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 lemon zest

1 orange zest

1/2 stalk of chopped lemongrass

2 quarts of water

3 stalks of rhubarb — trim ends and cut into 2 inch sections

1 cup grenadine

To Prepare Poached Rhubarb:

Bring water and sugar to boil in a saucepan. Once boiling, turn off heat and add lemon zest, ornage zest and lemongrass. Steep 5-7 minutes.

Strain mixture and pour into deep baking pan. Discard zest and lemongrass. Stir in grenadine. Add rhubarb. Place into 300F for 45 minutes. (Rhubarb is cooked when it is tender but holds its shape).

Place rhubarb in the blender and blend into fine puree. Strain puree to obtain 1/2 quart liquid. Stir in 2 packets of gelatine and chill.

Crème fraiche:

1 cup crème fraiche

1 ornage zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir together in mixing bowl

To assemble

Place one Phyllo triangle on the plate, spoon the cream on the lower half of triangle and place one piece of rhubarb on cream. Place the second Phyllo triangle on top. Add more cream and another piece of rhubarb. Add a last piece of Phyllo. Garnish plate with pulp of one Passion fruit.


Poached salmon: (serves 4)

4 Salmon steaks

Tie each steak, season with salt and pepper

Place salmon into pan with 1 inch water

Bring water to a boil, cover, and let salmon steam

Ingredients for rhubarb compote:

10 sticks rhubarb (wash and cut both ends to 3 inch long stalks)

1/2 cup heavy body red wine

1 cinnamon stick

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1 clove

To make rhubarb compote:

Put spices and wine in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the rhubarb and cook until wine evaporates and the rhubarb softens into compote. Check frequently to prevent burning.

Port wine sauce:

Place 1 cup of port wine in a pan. Boil until it gains a syrup-like consistency. Let cool down and put on the side.

Micro greens:

1 bunch of micro greens

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix micro greens, lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

To serve:

Place the salmon in the middle of the plate. Using a small ice cream scoop, place a scoop of rhubarb compote on top of each salmon steak. Top with the micro greens and drizzle the port sauce around the edges of the plate.


Flavor Sachet

Grated zest of 1 lime

Grated zest of 1 orange

1 stalk chopped lemongrass, or grated zest of 1 lemon

Rhubarb Splash

1 pound, (about 7 medium stalks rhubarb, trimmed, washed and chopped).

2/3 cups sugar

1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon grenadine

To make flavor sachet:

Place the lime zest, orange zest and chopped lemongrass in the center of a 4-inch square of cheesecloth. Gather the corners of the square together to from a pouch and tie with a piece of kitchen string.

To make rhubarb splash:

Combine the rhubarb, 4 cups water, and the sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the sachet and stir in the grenadine. Cover the pan and allow the flavors to infuse for 2 hours. After 2 hours squeeze and discard sachet. let mixture chill.

To serve:

Pour rhubarb splash into a chilled martini glass. Add a splash of Perrier and garnish with a slice of orange.