I initially got the idea after having dinner at Sportello, one of my favorite restaurants in Boston. Instead of just bread and olive oil, they serve bread with fresh ricotta and rhubarb compote. It’s one of the most delicious pairings – the flavors of the mellow, creamy ricotta against the sharp and sweet rhubarb perfectly complement each other.
So I decided to try and figure out how to make a compote that was close. I tried a bunch of different ingredient combinations before I got it right – different sweeteners (sugar only vs. juice only), different acids (vinegar vs. citrus) – you get the point. And after four batches, I think I nailed it.
What I’ve noted below is directional. Depending on the amount of rhubarb you use, and how sweet it happens to be, you may want to adjust. So remember, add slowly. You can always increase but you can’t take anything away.
- 4 stalks rhubarb, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
- 3 TBSP granulated sugar
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 TBSP orange juice
- Pinch of salt
Toss everything into a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook on low for 15-20 minutes.
As the mixture starts to break down and darken in color be sure to begin tasting to make sure it’s the right amount of sweetness for you — everyone’s palate is different.
Once it’s cooked down, and the flavors are where you want them, let the mixture cool for 15 minutes or so and then you’re ready to go. This compote will brighten any dish. For savory pairings, it’s wonderful with hard, salty cheeses, or as a sauce on pork. You can use it as a topping for ice cream or yogurt. It’s even great on toast. The possibilities are endless.