First published February 2016 in York Press

I am always impatient for the arrival of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb at the local market. The bright pink stems act as a colourful, sharp antidote to a winter full of earthy root vegetables and irony kale. Grown as a medicinal plant by ancient Chinese cultures this tart vegetable didn’t become popular in Britain until the 1800’s. By the early 20th century forced rhubarb growing had developed into a thriving industry and the Yorkshire Triangle could be found at the centre of all things rhubarb.

Poached with orange juice and honey it makes a simple and healthy pudding and this savoury alternative is a great way of using up a few leftover stems. Team the salsa with pork chops or griddled halloumi as part of a main meal, or serve alongside salty nachos for a group of friends.

 Ingredients

2 to 3 shallots

The zest of 1 and juice of 1 ½ limes

A teaspoon of soft brown sugar

120g of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb (about one rhubarb stem)

Half a crispy British eating apple

A small bunch of fresh coriander

Chilli flakes and salt to taste

Method

Peel and finely chop the shallots. Combine with the lime zest, lime juice and soft brown sugar.

Wipe the rhubarb stem clean with a damp cloth before slicing it into small pieces. Stir these into the shallots and lime dressing.

Repeat the process with your eating apple – move quickly to get the diced fruit into the lime juice and prevent discolouration. Mix well so that all of your ingredients have a good covering of the dressing.

Take a decent handful of fresh coriander and snip both the leaves and stems into your bowl. Stir again and taste.

Season the salsa with salt and chilli flakes as desired. It can be eaten immediately but will improve if left for a couple of hours before serving.

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