I really like working with a colour palette, while also not having it be the main purpose of the dish. I want it to taste great, but also play off a certain set of colors. This one works with shades of pink and light red, and is one of my favorite dishes to make at the moment.
Note: You’ll probably end up with a little bit of extra rhubarb purée and pickled rhubarb –congratulations – as both are delicious on almost everything and keep well, too. Alternatively, you could just double the amount of toast you make.
Rhubarb purée and pickled rhubarb
1 pound (455 g) rhubarb
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (180 ml) plus 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
10 baby red radishes (tops reserved for other uses, such as Salsa Verde)
4 slices Deanie’s Brioche or Pain de Mie, 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
extra-virgin olive oil
11 ounces (315 g) Whipped Ricotta (see below)
2 ounces (60 g) pickled rhubarb, or to taste
4 tablespoons rhubarb purée, or to taste
flaky sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Make the rhubarb purée and pickled rhubarb
Trim the discoloured ends of the rhubarb, as well as any of the whiter and light pink bits near the root end. Slice the stalks on an angle into 1/4-inch (6 mm) pieces. Set half of the rhubarb aside in a heatproof bowl.
In a pot, combine the sugar, 2 tablespoons of the vinegar, 3/4 cup (180 ml) water, and the kosher salt. Stir over medium heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Toss in the remaining half of the rhubarb and bring the pot to a bare simmer. Cook the rhubarb, uncovered, until the rhubarb is completely soft and broken down, about 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat, drain the cooking liquid through a sieve into a small pot and set it aside for the pickled rhubarb.
Transfer the cooked rhubarb to a blender and purée until smooth. If the purée is too thick, add some of the reserved liquid in small quantities, until the blender can blend. The result should be a velvety, shiny, custard-like purée. Press plastic wrap (clingfilm) directly over the top of the purée so that it does not form a skin. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Add the remaining 3/4 cup (180 ml) vinegar to the pot of cooking liquid and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately pour it over the reserved rhubarb in the heatproof bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap—this will help keep in the heat and fully break down the rhubarb. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate for at least 1 day before using. Store, refrigerated, for up to 1 month.
Using a mandoline, thinly shave the radishes to a 1/16-inch (1.5 mm) thickness. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and toast the bread on each side until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Sprinkle the bread with kosher salt.
Slather the toast with ricotta. Arrange the sliced radishes and pickled rhubarb on top and fill in the gaps with dots of rhubarb purée, using a squeeze bottle.
Finish with flaky sea salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.