Stalk market: Rhubarb is finally in season—here are five ways to experience it

Stalk market: Rhubarb is finally in season—here are five ways to experience it

In the pink: Ontario's rhubarb is at its prime (Photo by FotoosVanRobin) 

Spring’s first two gastronomic stars (fiddleheads and ramps) are already out of style and season, which means that punch-packing rhubarb is all the rage. But even this resilient vegetable—its season peaks in June and usually spans into July—is getting scarce with the shortage of June heat. C5 chef Ted Corrado (who’s busy preserving rhubarb for a rainy day) says that his source has already dried up. Here, a look at what some epicurean alchemists are doing with the great red stalks.

• At Delux, chef Corinna Mozo presents west-end diners with a summer-fresh nostalgic favourite: home-baked strawberry and rhubarb shortcake with whipped-to-order chantilly. The sweet scone-like biscuit makes an ideal accessory to tart leaf stalks. Additionally, Mozo is planning a seasonal take on the classic French dish aigre-doux (sweet and sour) in which she’ll pair the plant with vinegar and maple sugar for syrupy kick. 92 Ossington Ave. (at Queen St. W.), 416-537-0134.

• Loire’s chef-owner, Jean Charles Dupoire, marries sweet and savoury in his think-pink creations. Spiced apple and rhubarb compote accompanies a charcuterie plate; the vegetable’s acidity cuts the fat of the meat. The perennial ingredient also appears melted down and rolled into a crêpe that’s topped with seared foie gras and slathered in apple-caramel syrup and crunchy candied pecans. 119 Harbord St. (at Major St.), 416-850-8330.

• The foodie wizards at The Harbord Room get saucy to make the rhubarb easy to swallow. It is boiled down to a syrup and served with strawberry purée in the Bison Grass vodka Maritime mojito. Owner David Mitton calls the dessert-friendly drink, which is based on a pie recipe, “patio perfect.” 89 Harbord St. (at Spadina), 416-962-8989.

• Pastry chef Flo Leung puts the traditional pie plant to fruitful use in her homemade apple-rhubarb tarts at Grace. The individually sized flans are about five bites of country flavour, served with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Chef Bryan Lavers also makes a cider vinegar–stewed rhubarb and raisin relish that he calls “a sweet-savoury HP sauce.” 503 College St. (at Palmerston Ave.), 416-944-8884.

• The veggie is centre stage for sweet endings at North 44°, where Mark McEwan’s team serves it three ways. The dessert trio features a cheesecake beignet with rhubarb dipping sauce, almond tea cake with warm rhubarb filling and a shot glass of parfait layered with rhubarb gelée and creamy buttermilk panna cotta. A line of strawberry powder and a brush stroke of chocolate-balsamic sauce complete the homage. 2537 Yonge St. (at St. Clements Ave.), 416-487-4897.