what says spring like rhubarb? well, ramps. but that pesto’s yet to come (stay tuned!).

rhubarb! oh sweet, sour, masterful magenta stalks of blushing deliciousness! the smell of rhubarb cooking on the stove takes me back to life on powell avenue or to n. west avenue, to the most beautiful, smooth rhubarb sauce so famous in my mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens in the springtime. if not sweet sauce, it appeared hidden, bright pink, beneath a lovely layer of oats, butter, and brown sugar– the first fresh crisp of the season.

but, savory rhubarb? rhubarb not as sweet side dish or dessert? now this, something new and exciting, awakens my palate, calling me to embrace the springtime.

last friday, i ventured on the most lovely birthday celebration of my dear friend, the great pickler, to romeo, michigan to tour small-scale intensive vegetable farm of a dear mr. van houtte. to our delight, we received a bounty of attention, bags full of spinach, and armfuls of hothouse rhubarb. apparently, romeo, michigan once claimed the title of top hothouse rhubarb producer of the country! (now, i do not believe i am speaking in hyperbole, but i am known to exaggerate a story for theatrical impact. i learned that well from those afore-mentioned rhubarb-sauce-making women in my family!)

with the help of the same great pickler, today i made ten beautiful pints of romeo rhubarb chutney. against my familial training and culinary culture, i opted to try a savory, slightly sour, and perfectly complex condiment. made lovingly with red wine vinegar, freshly grated ginger, a hit of cardamom and cinnamon, dates, raisins, and featuring holtz spring onions and dana’s detroit chives, this chutney will overwhelm your taste buds in a most exciting way.  spread on melted, raw chivecolby cheese with a microgreen melody of radish, mustard, and beets atop a toasted tortilla…. fantastic in the mouth and belly.

i suggest you buy a jar today! for a mere $5, enjoy the springtime treat on your favorite sandwiches, meats, and salads alike in the comfort of your own home!