Put Rhubarb In Your Next Grilled Cheese For An Elegant Upgrade

Grilled cheese sandwich
Grilled cheese sandwich - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Rhubarb pie is a tart and sweet experience for your taste buds. It is one of, if not "the," most popular way to use the red stalks that start popping up in the grocery store in March and April and look like crimson celery. If you have ever seen rhubarb stalks while shopping for produce and wondered what you can make with it besides pie, the simple answer is to add it to your next grilled cheese sandwich.

Now, there is a caveat with this sandwich upgrade. This is not your picky toddler's grilled cheese. You should reserve this elegant option for the grown-ups, or at the very least, those with a grown-up palate. A layer of rhubarb nestled between cheese and bread that is grilled until it is golden and crispy and the cheese is ooey and gooey, makes for a lovely trio especially if you roast this veggie.

Roasting rhubarb will concentrate the sugars and the flavor, making it a little sweeter but without losing that signature tang. To achieve this, it is as easy as chopping up the stalks and tossing them in olive oil and salt before laying them in a single layer on a baking pan for roasting. Just remember to remove the leaves and discard them, as they are poisonous.

Read more: 12 Vegetables And Fruits That Used To Look Very Different

Roast, Fry, Or Pickle?

Rhubarb on a table
Rhubarb on a table - Bruceblock/Getty Images

Because rhubarb contains a minuscule amount of natural sugar, the thought of not adding any sugar might make your mouth pucker. You can sprinkle a little sugar over it before you pop it in the oven for 25-30 minutes, and it will caramelize as it roasts, bringing out more sweetness. As the rhubarb roasts it also reduces the high water content of this veggie, allowing all that moisture to evaporate. This is important because you don't want to end up with a grilled cheese sandwich that's soggy.

You can also do a quick pickled rhubarb and add it to your grilled cheese. The benefit of pickling is the layers of flavor that can touch sweet, tangy, savory, and spicy notes depending on your brine. Rhubarb's tartness mellows when pickled but it retains its natural crunch. Give it a kick by adding black peppercorns or a little cayenne pepper to the sugar-vinegar solution.

If you prefer, you can also fry your rhubarb like you would a couple strips of bacon when you are making a bacon-filled grilled cheese. Just take a little butter, along with some sugar or even a little brown sugar, and let the sizzle begin. The sugar will caramelize giving the rhubarb a little more balance in taste. But, your rhubarb doesn't need the sweetener. Its natural tanginess actually can make for a better bite in a grilled cheese depending on what kind of cheese you pair it with.

Types Of Cheese To Use

Chevre, brie and other cheeses
Chevre, brie and other cheeses - barmalini/Shutterstock

And speaking of cheese, a creamy soft cheese like brie with its butter-like taste and consistency, or a young chevre or goat's cheese that is velvety in texture and has a mild tang will work nicely alongside the rhubarb. The one thing to keep in mind with chevre is that it doesn't completely melt, so if you are looking for a cheese that has more of that melted, stringy goodness that you love with a grilled cheese, you may want to opt for a Havarti.

Havarti is an excellent choice because it has that buttery softness similar to brie and a salty bite. It also has a high moisture content which allows it to become nice and gooey when it melts. It is perfect for a grilled cheese sandwich with rhubarb. A Havarti with dill may seem like an unlikely candidate, but the dill adds a little kick that will play nicely against the sweet and tart notes of the rhubarb.

Another unlikely suspect for your grilled cheese and rhubarb is a lovely pawlet cheese. Made from raw cow's milk, pawlet cheese is often described as grassy and sweet. It is washed in brine and has a lovely rich, savory taste. This cheese melts well and pairs perfectly with rhubarb -- a match made in taste bud heaven. That said, if you're more of a traditionalist and prefer cheddar, that's not a problem. Rhubarb and cheddar cheese make a delightful combination. The direction you go in is up to you, just don't forget that rhubarb is the added flavor booster your next grilled cheese needs.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.