This article was posted 29th January 2020 and will only be current for a short time. Forced rhubarb has a brief season.
The Rhubarb Triangle is a 9-square-mile (23 km 2) triangle in West Yorkshire, England between Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell famous for producing early forced rhubarb. It includes Kirkhamgate, East Ardsley, Stanley, Lofthouse and Carlton.
Forced rhubarb is grown in sheds. Without daylight the rhubarb leaves are an anaemic green-yellow, and the stalks, measuring two feet (61 cm), are smooth textured and crimson. Traditionally the pickers pull the stalks in candlelight as any exposure to strong light will stop the growth. By the end of March the harvest is over and the root stock is totally exhausted and used for compost. By then we should have some of our own rhubarb ready.
Looking for something a little bit different from the traditional crumble then why not try the delicious recipe below?
Vanilla-fried rhubarb on sugar brioche
Almost like jam on toast, the rich sugary brioche is a good backdrop to the sharp rhubarb.
1 vanilla pod
50g unsalted butter
50g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
4 sticks rhubarb, sliced into quarters
4 slices brioche
Clotted cream or creme fraiche, to serve (optional)
1 Scrape out the vanilla seed and mix with the butter and icing sugar. Reserve the pod.
2 In a large frying pan, heat the vanilla butter. As soon as it has melted, add the rhubarb and cook over a low heat until just tender.
3 Meanwhile, sift a little more icing sugar on to the brioche, then grill on medium. Once it has started to colour, divide between four plates, then top with the rhubarb and butter. Serve with the cream if you are feeling indulgent.