There is another seasonal ingredient that I really enjoy at this time of year, the humble rhubarb (Rhabarber). As children, we harvested the very tangy stalks in my grandmother's garden, washed them and dipped them in sugar for a very unusual treat.
Of course, there are countless recipes out there for this lovely vegetable (!) – savory as well as sweet and I have a number of them on my blog (see list at the end of this post) but for a different twist this year, I opted for a savory rhubarb topping for my hummus and I prepared some homemade whole wheat and spelt tortillas to serve alongside. If you prefer some crunchy chips with your hummus, cut the tortillas into triangles, place them on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, sprinkle with flaky salt and bake them in the oven for a few minutes until they have turned light golden brown and crispy.
Rhubarb: basically, ther are two kinds of rhubarb. There is the very pink forced rhubarb (sold from January until March, mostly in the UK but I have also seen it in being sold in the Netherlands and Belgium) and there is outdoor-grown rhubarb (available in late spring), the latter variety can be anything from greenish to bright red (which is what I used for my recipe). Sometimes the red outdoor variety is called "Erdbeer Rhababer" (literally translated "strawberry rhubarb") as an allusion to the reddish color as well as the somewhat sweet taste - while it's still wonderfully tangy, it is indeed a bit sweeter than the greenish variety.
You should always wash and trim the rhubarb stems before you use them. And make sure to discard the leaves as they are poisonous. If you use outdoor-grown rhubarb, make sure to remove any stringy outer layers and to cut it into equal-sized pieces to ensure even cooking.
Forced rhubarb is very fragile so poach or bake only briefly to prevent it from disintegrating into a mush. Outdoor-grown rhubarb has a sharper taste and more fibrous texture, so requires a slightly longer cooking. Both varieties of rhubarb are good in pies, tarts, fools, jellies and savory dishes.
Tortillas: the recipe calls for just 5 ingredients, namely flour, baking powder, a pinch of salt, olive oil and water. This time I used a mix of spelt flour and whole wheat flour but you can use all purpose flour instead. If using any whole grain flour variety, remember that you might need a bit more liquid/water to achieve the right consistency. These are very easy to make and can be pan fried in a few minutes – perfect scooping vessels for the hummus.
Hummus: everyone has their own favourite way of making it. Use garlic or don’t use it. Add a bit of cumin or just salt and pepper to the chickpeas, tahini and a mild olive oil. For today’s recipe you might want to skip the fresh lime or lemon juice, as the rhubarb already adds a pleasant acidity here – it is actually delicious to stir some of the rhubarb mixture into the hummus itself.
Hummus with Rhubarb Topping & Homemade Tortillas Hummus mit Rhabarber-Topping & selbstgemachten Tortillas
For the Tortillas
- 100g white spelt flour (Dinkelmehl Type 630)
- 100g whole wheat flour (Vollkornmehl) OR wholemeal spelt flour (Dinkel Vollkornmehl)
- ½ tsp baking powder (for all of my baking, sweet as well as savory, I like to use a high-quality organic baking powder called ‘Weinsteinbackpulver’)
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 30ml olive oil (mild, suitable for cooking)
- about 100ml water, room temperature (depending on the variety of flour you use, you might need a bit less or more, particularly if you go with whole wheat/wholemeal)
For the Rhubarb
- 1 stalk red rhubarb (preferably the red variety)
- 4 slices fresh ginger (washed, no need to peel)
- olive oil (suitable for cooking)
- salt (to taste)
For the Hummus
- Use your favorite hummus recipe
For the Roasted Chickpeas
- chickpeas, washed, well drained and dried - othewise the chickpeas will steam and not turn crunchy (keep the aquafaba, that is the chickpea liquid, for another use such as vegan meringues)
- olive oil
- paprika (not the smoked variety) or go with pepper if you prefer
- For the Hummus: prepare your favorite hummus – my recipe calls for chickpeas, tahini, grated lime zest and just a bit of its juice, freshly ground black pepper, salt, a bit of chili, ½ clove of very finely squashed garlic (mashed with a bit of salt into a paste with the blade of my kitchen knife), cumin, mild olive oil and water. Cover and place in the fridge while making the Topping and the Tortillas. N.B.: Reserve a hand full of chickpeas for the topping.
- Next prepare the Rhubarb Topping: cut the washed stalk into slices, on low heat, cook the slices in pan with olive oil, a few sliced of fresh ginger and a bit of salt just till soft. That will only take a few minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool. Once the topping has cooled, remember to remove the sliced ginger.
- Then make the Tortillas: in a mixing bowl, whisk together the flours with the salt and baking powder. Then add the oil and water, mix well (best done by hand OR use your mixer with the dough hooks). Shape the dough into a ball, place it on your lightly-floured work surface, turn the mixing bowl upside down over the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes. Divide the rested dough into 8 equal parts. Roll out each part till flat and very thin (a bit like a strudel dough consistency). In a very lightly oiled nonstick or cast iron pan (just wipe the pan with a lightly oiled cloth), bake each Tortilla separately, turn and cook until done and browned in a few spots, about 2 minutes or more.
- While the Tortilla dough is resting make some Roasted Chickpeas to serve alongside: dump the well drained and dry (!) chickpeas on a parchment lined baking sheet, season with salt and paprika (use regular paprika, not the smoked variety as that would overpower the rhubarb) and bake for 15 minutes or more in your pre-heated oven at 180° C (356°F).
- To serve: add the hummus to a pretty bowl, top with some of the cooled rhubarb topping. If you happen to have fresh pomegranate seeds, add a few to the rhubarb topping. Then a splash of high-quality olive oil, a bit of freshly ground black pepper and some flaky salt - done. Place the tortillas next to the hummus and serve the remaining rhubarb and the roasted chickpeas alongside.
“Rhubarb is a funny vegetable. So funny, it thinks it's a fruit.”
(The Guardian, January 6, 2007)
For more Rhubarb recipes:
- Red Rhubarb & Wild Strawberry Tart (Rote Rhabarbertarte mit Walderdbeeren) (HERE)
- Rhubarb Cordial and Rhubarb Almond Bundt (Rhabarber Sirup und Rhabarber-Mandel Kuchen) (HERE)
- Spring Rhubarb Tart (Frühlings-Rhabarbertarte) (HERE)
- Nigel Slater's Rhubarb Cinnamon Polenta Cake (HERE)
- Old Viennese Topfen Cake & Oven-Baked Rhubarb (Altwiener Topfentorte & Ofen-Gebackener Rhabarber) (HERE)
- Fresh Rhubarb Upside-Down Baby Cakes (HERE)
- Springtime Baking: Yogurt Rhubarb Bundt (Frühlingsgugelhupf mit Jogurt und Rhabarber) (HERE)
For more Hummus recipes:
- Hummus with Broad Bean & Garden Herb Topping (Hummus mit dicken Bohnen & Gartenkräutern) (HERE)
- Pottery Love, a handcrafted Bowl and Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi's Basic Hummus (HERE)
- River Cottage Veg Everyday: Cannellini Bean Hummus (Cannellini-Bohnen Hummus) (HERE)
- Red Beet Hummus & Comfort Food (Rote Beete Hummus & Wohlfühlessen) (HERE)
- A Seasonal Delight: Wild Garlic Spring Hummus (Hummus mit Bärlauch) (HERE)