What's in Season Now
In many ways March is the trickiest month to eat seasonally. Gone is February’s game, and lamb is not generally available until April. The selection of vegetables is reduced and the only ‘fruit’ is rhubarb. Actually rhubarb is a curiosity: it is cooked as a fruit, but is a vegetable, and combines an exotic shade of pink with a sourness and sharpness not quite like anything else.
Prepare by washing, trimming both ends of the stalks and discarding the poisonous leaves, and cook in a stainless steel or another non-reactive pan – don’t cook in aluminium pans.
Rhubarb’s tartness balances the sweetness of a pie crust or crumble, but also cuts through the richness of duck or pork.
Nigel Slater suggests making a rhubarb chutney to serve with a pork chop. His recipe serves two. Roughly chop two onions and cook in a non-reactive pan with 200g granulated sugar and 250ml white wine vinegar. Bring to the boil. Add four small, hot chillies, two star anise, one tablespoon black mustard seeds and one teaspoon of lightly crushed coriander seeds. Simmer over a moderate heat. Remove the zest from an orange and cut it into fine strips. Stir these into the onions and cook for 15 minutes until the mixture thickens. Cut 300g rhubarb into chunks the size of a wine cork, add to the onions and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in 200g pomegranate seeds. Serve with pork chops that have been oiled and grilled on both sides.
Not only a tasty supper, but a colourful dish for this time of year.
Fish and seafood: cockles, dab, dover sole, gurnard, hake, langoustine, lemon sole, lobster, oysters, red mullet, salmon, shrimp, whitebait, winkles
Fruit and nuts: rhubarb
Vegetables: cauliflower, kale, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli, salsify, spinach, spring onions, swede, wild nettles
To find out where you can find fresh, local, seasonal produce, use the search function on the homepage of our website www.hampshirefare.co.uk
Photograph courtesy Chewton Glen