Big red

Illustration By Mark Stivers

Is there any fruit more polarizing than rhubarb? First, it’s not a fruit, but a vegetable, though it’s mainly used in desserts, and second, an awful lot of people apparently despise it. I love rhubarb, and all you haters out there don’t know what you’re missing. The ruby-red, tart stalks are plentiful in the market right now, along with their best friend the sweet strawberry—a case of opposites attracting. Rhubarb is wonderful in pies, but it’s also great baked. Here’s a trick I stole from one of Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks: Put the sliced stalks in a dish with sugar (a scant cup or so per pound), cover and bake until tender. I can’t resist eating this with a spoon or over ice cream, but last weekend I stirred in quartered strawberries and used it to make rhubarb-strawberry shortcake—a luscious combination that made me think that maybe we, too, should put our dessert-related differences aside.