Rhubarb with asparagus and mushrooms

This is a very unusual rhubarb recipe: A vegetable side dish, instead of a dessert. All the other rhubarb recipes I’ve seen call for tons of sugar to temper the sourness. Instead, this one uses rhubarb’s characteristic pucker power to enhance asparagus and mushrooms, a little like using lemon or vinegar.

2 T vegetable oil
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 lb asparagus, woody stems snapped off, peeled if necessary, and cut across into 1-1/2″ pieces
1/3 lb oyster mushrooms, trimmed and cut lengthwise through the stem into 2 pieces for small clusters, or 3 pieces for large
4 medium stalks rhubarb, trimmed and cut across into 1/4″ pieces (about 2 cups)
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t sugar
lots of freshly ground black pepper

In a large straight-sided frying pan, heat the oils over high heat till shimmering.  Stir in asparagus and oyster mushrooms.  Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.  The bottom of the pan will begin to brown.

Stir in the rhubarb.  It will create enough moisture for the food not to stick or burn.  Cook, stirring, for 3-4 more minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in salt, sugar and pepper.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Makes 4 servings.


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