I picked up some fresh rhubarb at the organic market last week. I love the bright reddish-pink stalks and the unique, tart flavor that begs to be sweetened. Rhubarb is only in season for a short time so I just had to buy some. Faced with bringing an appetizer to a party (I already had a Naan bread in my freezer), I thought... could I make a savory pizza with my rhubarb? The answer is YES! The rhubarb actually cooks down into a jam-like state, reminiscent of tomato sauce. It's tangy, a gorgeous color, and is a perfect platform for the goat cheese and toasted walnuts. You may want to add more ingredients but keep this pizza simple so the rhubarb is the star. You could also serve this jam along side cheeses on a cheese board or as a condiment to a grilled chicken breast or pork tenderloin for something a bit different.
Savory Rhubarb Jam and Goat Cheese Pizza
For the sauce:
1 /4 of a large red onion, sliced
1 clove garlic chopped
1 T fresh ginger, chopped
1 lb rhubarb stalks, washed, trimmed and cut crosswise into slices
3 T balsamic vinegar
1 cup cranberry juice or pomegranate-cranberry juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 T olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet, add the onion, garlic, ginger and rhubarb and cook, stirring frequently until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, juice and brown sugar, stirring to combine. Cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, You want it to reduce to a thick jammy consistency.
For the pizza:
2 Naan bread - you can use 2 rectangle shaped or 4 round/oblong
1 - 4 oz chub of mild goat cheese
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
fresh thyme or basil for garnish
olive oil for brushing on the crust
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the Naan bread from the packaging and place on a sheet pan. Brush with olive oil and pre-bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and spread with the rhubarb jam to cover, leave a little bit of the edge showing. Top with the goat cheese and bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges are browned and the cheese slightly melted. Crush the walnuts over the top, garnish with thyme or basil, cut and serve.
Fava beans are a cruel bit of nature...delicious yet so labor intensive to be able to enjoy. True, but I would not be posting about them if I did not think they were worth the trouble. Simply said, there is nothing else quite like them. They have all the right components, a short season, so you look forward to their arrival, a bright green color, so they brighten up any dish and a buttery flavor not duplicated by any other bean. The prep really isn't all that bad once you get started but if you see them on a restaurant menu, by all means, order them, someone else has gone to great lengths to prepare them for you!
Fava Bean Mash
2 lbs fresh fava beans, unshelled
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, stripped and chopped finely
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
4 T good olive oil (plus a little more for processing to the right texture, and for garnish)
1/2 cup water (maybe a bit more)
lemon zest from half a lemon
1 T fresh lemon juice
Shell the fava beans by breaking the stem end off, pulling the string down and opening up the pod revealing the beans inside. Remove the beans and set aside. Get a pot of water boiling and drop the beans into the water to cook for about 2 minutes. Drain and place in an ice bath until cool, drain. Make a slit with your fingernail and push the tender bean out by pressing gently, they should pop right out. You should have about two cups after shelling. Take a break.
Place the olive oil, salt, pepper and water in a wide skillet along with the beans, garlic and rosemary. Cook for about 15 minutes or until soft enough to mash with a fork. Put into a food processor with the lemon zest and juice and pulse gently until the beans are mashed and have a texture similar to hummus. You may need to add a bit more water or olive oil to get it right. Put into a serving dish, drizzle with oil a bit more lemon zest and a rosemary sprig. Serve with toasted za'atar pitas.
Toasted Za'atar Pitas
4 whole pita pocket breads
1/2 cup olive oil
1 T Za'atar seasoning ( a Middle Eastern blend of spice and sesame seeds)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut each pita into 8 triangular pieces then separate the layers so you have 2 pieces. Place on a sheet pan. Mix the Za'atar and olive oil together in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush each triangle with a bit of the oil. Bake until browned and crisp, about 12-15 minutes. Sprinkle with some sea salt, cool. Serve with Fava bean mash.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"