Updated: Mar 4, 2020
It's that time of year: the grass is starting to green while the mountains are still tipped in snow. The lilacs blooms are giving off their heavy fragrance and little vegetables are pushing up through the wet ground determined to make the most of the short growing season. I'm convinced there is no prettier place on earth than Montana in late spring. When I think about eating seasonally and locally, rhubarb stands out as a staple of this season. I've heard people complain about the tart, tough taste. My advice: cut it early before the stocks become thick and it goes to seed, and look for varieties which are sweeter in flavor. I dug up a chunk of my grandma's giant, leafy plant as a start when we built our house - she thinks the variety may have been a "Martha Washington" but we'll have to forgive the lapse in memory as she bought it in the 1950's.
I have a handful of go-to rhubarb recipes for this time of year. Whether it's a pie, cobbler or crisp there is something sentimental and sweet about a rhubarb dessert. It's one of those flavors which instantly takes me back to my childhood on the farm. In addition to her apple pie, grandma made a lot of rhubarb swirl, which I lovingly mispronounced squirrel and the name stuck. I promise to share that recipe soon, but today I'm whipping up a batch of this delicious and cozy gluten-free rhubarb crisp. It's great by itself or topped with homemade whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
1 stick of cold, unsalted butter cubed
3 lbs of fresh cut rhubarb (about 6 cups), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 -1/3 cup organic white sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I use Namaste from Costco)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill gluten-free oats
1/2 cup pecans
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan. Combine rhubarb with white sugar and lemon juice and zest. Spread evenly in the bottom of your baking dish.
2. In a food processor, combine butter with brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Pulse for 30 seconds or until the mixture resembles small peas and begins to clump together. Add oats and pecans and pulse just enough to combine.
3. Crumble the topping over the rhubarb and bake until toasty brown, about 40 minutes.
4. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.