ICE Chef Ann Ziata holds a rhubarb at the Union Square Greenmarket

Savory Rhubarb Recipe: Celebrate Spring with NYC's Greenmarket

Chef Ann Ziata proves this vegetable can do more than pie

The Institute of Culinary Education has teamed up with GrowNYC for a monthly series highlighting a seasonal ingredient at the greenmarket.

ICE Chef Ann Ziata took this month’s collaboration with New York City’s Union Square greenmarket seriously and crafted a rhubarb crostini using only ingredients found at the market (in addition to salt and pepper).

Though this stalk vegetable is commonly found in desserts — think pies, tarts, jams and more — Chef Ann served it up in a savory bite.

Chef Ann Ziata holding rhubarb at the Union Square Greenmarket.

"Rhubarb has a tangy, tart flavor and a cheerful, crimson-pink color skin covering its lime green interior," Chef Ann says. "It’s not naturally sweet but is usually cooked with fruit or sugar to balance its exceptionally pucker-y flavor. Its texture ranges from very crunchy to completely tender depending on how long it is cooked.”

The vegetable is in season in May and June in New York, so the time is ripe for experimentation. Chef Ann suggests sautéing, stewing and pickling, and admits she has a weakness for baked rhubarb.

“I am a sucker for baked rhubarb, cooked long enough to be tender while still holding its gorgeous shape," she says. "I am happy to enjoy it with some creamy yogurt and a little granola. And if it's baked into a pie or tart, even better.”

Chef Ann also recommends rhubarb jam because of it's simplicity.

"It doesn’t require any mashing, straining or thickening, and tastes better than candy,” she says.

If you get your hands on rhubarb this season, here are some tips from Chef Ann for working with it:

  • Rhubarb can get mushy quickly when cooking, so make sure you monitor it.
  • The leaves are toxic, don’t eat them!
  • If you find yourself wishing rhubarb season extended past June, buy a few extra stalks and store them in the freezer.

Chef Ann's Hard Cider-Poached Rhubarb Crostini with Cheese and Mint is a low-input, high-reward dish that is sweet, tart and tangy all in one bite. Here’s the recipe so you can make it at home.


Hard Cider-Poached Rhubarb Crostini with Cheese and Mint

Yield: About 30 Crostini



  • 1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups hard cider (can use regular apple cider as well)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 baguette, thinly sliced and toasted with olive oil
  • 1 cup soft sheep's or goat's milk cheese
  • A few sprigs apple or lemon mint, torn
  • Salt
  • Fresh black pepper


  1. Combine rhubarb, hard cider, maple syrup and water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then let simmer until rhubarb is tender, about 8-10 minutes. Strain the rhubarb; keep liquid and return to heat until reduced to a syrup.
  2. Spread cheese on toasted baguette slices. Top with rhubarb compote and drizzle with reduction. Garnish with mint and season with salt and black pepper; serve immediately.

Try other recipes from our greenmarket series:

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