Why It Works
- Cooking the rhubarb first allows it to fully soften and break down, creating a thick sauce.
- Fennel seed adds an intriguing sweet-savory note that works well in all applications.
This classic springtime combination, spiked with the anise flavor of fennel seed, is incredibly versatile: Just add more or less sugar to suit your taste. If left more tart, it's perfect with a grilled or seared pork chop; slightly sweeter, and it's great as a breakfast topping for yogurt, waffles, or pancakes; sweeten it even more and you can use it on an ice cream sundae. As written, the recipe hits the middle spot, good for breakfast or a not-too-sweet dessert. Feel free to adjust to your own preferences.
- 3/4 pound (350g) rhubarb, diced
- 10 ounces (300g) strawberries, hulled and quartered
- Up to 1/2 cup (100g) sugar (see note)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed (from about 3/4 teaspoon whole seeds)
- Pinch kosher salt
In a medium saucepan, combine rhubarb with 1/2 cup water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Lower heat to maintain a fast simmer, cover, and cook until rhubarb is fully softened and beginning to break down, about 4 minutes.
Uncover and add strawberries, sugar to taste (see note), fennel, and salt. Continue to cook uncovered over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until strawberries are very soft and plump, about 10 minutes; if compote becomes too thick during cooking, add a small amount of water to thin slightly. Serve hot or cold. Compote will keep for up to 5 days refrigerated in a sealed container.
Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar to taste.