Rhubarb leaves contain a natural toxin and should not be eaten. Simply cut them off and discard. Poached rhubarb can also be served with roast pork, ice cream, waffles, or toast.
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped to loosen
- Thin strips zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and cut crosswise on the diagonal into 3/4-inch pieces (about 4 1/2 cups)
Stir together sugar and 1 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Add vanilla bean and seeds, lemon zest and juice, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Add rhubarb. Reduce heat; partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is just tender and beginning to break down, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer rhubarb to a bowl. Let rhubarb and poaching liquid cool completely. Remove vanilla bean from poaching liquid and discard.