In California, our wet winter is finished and I’m breathing a sigh of relief. Which isn’t to say I’m complaining about the rain. In fact, I’ve loved every little ping and pitter-patter on the copper awning outside my kitchen window. I’ve been happy cooking cool weather favorites like Bolognese too. But I’ll admit I spent quite a few chilly evenings by the fire bookmarking recipes for warmer days. Now that spring has come to our farmer’s markets its brought asparagus, peas, fava beans, strawberries, and rhubarb, which means it’s finally time to try out those dog-eared recipes I collected. At the top of my list is this Strawberry-Rhubarb Polenta Crisp from the Gjelina cookbook.
Rhubarb is a vegetable that masquerades as a fruit. That’s because it’s so pretty it blushes, ranging from pale green to deep red depending on growing conditions. Rhubarb may wear a flamboyant crimson frock, but it can be so tart it verges on astringent. It tends to fall into the “love it” or “hate it” category. Whether it’s roasted, pickled or turned into a cocktail, I’m a lover not a hater. Its classic partner is strawberries, and they often show up together in desserts such as this polenta crisp.
Strawberry-Rhubarb Polenta Crisp
Like all crisps, this recipe is a snap to put together and seems well-suited to adaptations. Feel free to experiment with other seasonal fruits throughout the year. What sets this crisp apart, however, is the inclusion of polenta in the topping. I first read about a polenta as a topping for crisps on the David Lebovitz blog but have never gotten around to trying it– that is until I came across the Travis Lett version this past winter. What I think you’ll love about this recipe is that the polenta provides both a crunchiness and a sweetness that highlight the soft texture and sharp tang of baked rhubarb. GREG