The sun is shining, the tulips are all blooming, and birds are singing. It’s glorious out. The farmers market has already been open for a month, overflowing with lush greens, leeks, and radishes. But to me it doesn’t quite feel like spring until the rhubarb comes. I don’t know if it’s the brilliant red color or the fact that it always makes me think of berries, but somehow only rhubarb can confirm that spring’s really here. Last week, the rhubarb finally made its first appearance at the farmers market. I picked out four of the fattest stalks.
It seems like rhubarb is always paired with strawberries. Well, Oregon strawberries are only starting to flower now and still a month or two away, so that wasn’t an option. And besides, I wanted to taste the rhubarb all by itself. I figured a Rhubarb Sorbet would be perfect.
And it was perfect. As it happened, a friend invited us over for breakfast the next morning. She said that she would make waffles, and I said that I had the perfect topping. Breakfast was divine—crispy waffles hot from the griddle topped with Rhubarb Sorbet (between the four of us we ate nearly the entire batch) and whipped cream. By coincidence, there was also homemade strawberry freezer jam, I guess rhubarb and strawberries are just meant to be together. Spring is definitely in full swing.
2 cups water
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 pound rhubarb, diced
1 large egg white
Combine the water, sugar, and rhubarb in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender. Let cool slightly and puree in a food mill using a fine disc. Chill over an ice bath until ice-cold. Whisk in the egg white. Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn until frozen. Transfer to a container and freeze for 4 to 6 hours before serving.
Makes about 1 ½ quarts. The egg white gives the sorbet a fluffy texture. If you’re uneasy about eating raw eggs, omit it or use pasteurized eggs.