For the Love of Rhubarb


Many of us have only ever eaten mushy rhubarb in a crumble or pie. Here, the rhubarb’s cell structure holds firm and gains additional complexity from the fennel.


1 cup granulated sugar
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
2 medium stalks rhubarb, trimmed and cut into ½” pieces
1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved (optional)


In a medium-sized non-stick sauté pan, combine the sugar with 2 cups filtered water. Bring to a gentle simmer, whisking until sugar melts and is no longer granular. Continue to simmer gently, about 20 minutes, whisking occasionally, until the water thickens and is a bit more syrupy.

Add the fennel slices and simmer gently about 10 minutes. Add the rhubarb and simmer gently an additional 4 to 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Gently stir in strawberries, if using. Spoon mixture into bowls with a bit of the syrup. Garnish with a fennel frond or two. Serve.

Use any remaining simple syrup to create a rhubarb, strawberry or fennel cosmopolitan.