It's gloomy today and the rain falls steadily as I write. The last of the snow has finally melted and the daffodils are peeking up through the earth. My favorite magnolia tree in the backyard is filled with velvety buds, patiently waiting for her all too brief moment of blossoming. Change is afoot, both outside and in my kitchen as we transition to the early days of spring.
We are a ways out from fresh strawberries and rhubarb here in Nebraska, but the displays in the market tell me that somewhere not too far from here they are already bountiful. I can't think of a better way to kick off this season of rebirth and renewal than with this Roasted Strawberry and Rhubarb Compote. Think of it as that perfect accessory that you can put with just about anything and elevate it from ordinary to extraordinary. Like a favorite scarf or necklace but edible. A batch of this compote will keep for at least two weeks in the fridge and will cheerfully adorn just about anything you choose to pair with it.
You may choose to:
- Use it in place of jam on your morning toast
- Slather it on top of rye crispbread with cream cheese for afternoon fika (don't forget the coffee!)
- Warm it slightly and spoon it over ice cream
- Spoon a dollop next to your favorite granola and yogurt (it's like having strawberry rhubarb crisp for breakfast!)
You get the idea. Enjoy these early spring days, my friends! They are fleeting. Soon it will be hot and humid and we will long for this in between season of fresh earth, cloudy skies and new beginnings.
Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
- 1 pound fresh strawberries hulled and halved if small, quartered if large
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb stalks fresh or frozen
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- Pinch of salt
- ½ vanilla bean
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine all ingredients except vanilla bean in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Using a small knife, slice down one side of the vanilla bean lengthwise so that it opens like a book. Using the back of the knife, scrape the black seeds from the inside of the split vanilla bean pod and place in the baking dish. Add the pod as well.
- Stir everything together. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir mixture. Return to the oven and roast for another 20 minutes or until fruit is bubbly, extremely soft and falling apart.
- Remove the vanilla bean pod. Using a potato masher or the back of a fork, lightly mash the fruit mixture until it is a jam-like consistency. Allow to cool. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.