This recipe showcases vivid color, lush texture, and distinct tartness. Often rhubarb’s color pales when cooked. For some quirky chemical reason, though, when it is partially cooked, then allowed to finish softening in its warm juices, its ruby color almost always revives. If baked in stationary sections rather than being tossed in thin slices, the red skin remains smooth and shiny and uppermost, while the paler interior is hidden beneath. But timing is tricky: The dish must be watched constantly and removed from the oven while still undercooked if it is to make a beautiful statement on a buffet table.
Choose deep rose stalks of equal width. Be warned that the tartness is merely mitigated with maple, but not eliminated. The bracing taste suits rich seafood or poultry or pork.