My colleague Jane kindly gave me some of her home-grown rhubarb after seeing this recipe here on the blog. We traded cake recipes, too, but even after reflecting on those beauties I pulled out two new recipes for this bunch! This cute little salad has been bookmarked over a decade, from the now-defunct food blog vanesscipes. (Thankfully the Wayback Machine can still dredge it up.)
Here the rhubarb is just gently sauteed with oil and balsamic vinegar to form the salad dressing. It's still quite firm and whole, a different texture to the collapsing puddles I'm accustomed to in many desserts. While I think of rhubarb as a cool weather comfort food, this salad shows how bright and refreshing it can be! That's mostly thanks to the apple matchsticks and radish rounds that make up the crisp, watery bulk of the dish.
I was worried the apple might brown quickly, but the dressing preserves it well and it was still in good shape for packed lunches the next day. We paired this juicy, tangy salad with the simplest chickpea salad and they made a relaxed, happy summer coupling.
Apple walnut salad with rhubarb dressing
(a recipe from vanesscipes)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 long stalks rhubarb
1 teaspoon brown sugar
generous pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup walnuts
2 Granny Smith apples
2 handfuls green salad leaves
Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a medium saucepan and set it over medium heat. Slice the rhubarb into inch-long segments and saute them in the oil for about 5 minutes - they should be softening a bit but still holding their shape. Add the sugar, salt, vinegar and second tablespoon of oil. Saute for a couple more minutes, then turn off the heat.
Gently toast the walnuts until fragrant. Slice the apples into matchsticks, and the radishes into thin rounds.
Time to assemble the salad! I layered up green leaves, radishes, apples, rhubarb dressing, then walnuts. We also tossed together the leftovers and the dressing helped prevent the apple from browning.