Rhubarb Salsa

This is part three of the Rhubarb Happy Hour series.  Watch for future posts in this series during the upcoming weeks. 

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, I thought I would shift gears from rhubarb cocktails and share with you a rhubarb version of a happy hour standard: chips and salsa.  We are huge fans of salsa in this house.  In fact, our shared love of salsa even predates our love for each other.  Before we were even dating, Mike and I would go out for late Wednesday night margaritas and big order of chips and salsa on a pretty regular basis.  Once we were married, the idea of having a salsa garden was the driving force behind converting the sandbox into the garden.
When tomato season is in full swing, I make a batch of fresh salsa on just about a weekly basis.  And while we have enjoyed a good supply of canned garden salsa this winter, it's been a while since the last batch of fresh salsa in December.  Finding something to fill that void until we see the first red tomato of the season is pretty serious stuff.  The idea of a rhubarb salsa peaked my interest, but would it live up to our high standards for salsa?    

In short, yes.  The flavor combination is fantastic: tart, sweet, and salty all at the same time, followed by just the perfect amount of lingering heat from the jalapeno. It is definitely not the same as a tomato salsa, but there are just enough familiar elements there to satisfy that craving.  Like most great salsas, the flavor really develops if you let it sit for a while before serving.
I very much enjoyed the original recipe, but I did make a couple of significant changes the second time around, which are reflected below.  First, the initial taste reminded me of the acidity of pico de gallo made with fresh squeezed lime juice (albeit a more tart version), so I couldn't help but add just a little fresh cilantro.  And since I was already thinking along those lines, I squeezed in a just a little bit of lime juice as well.  Second, I added the sweet bell peppers to give the salsa a little more body apart from the rhubarb. The subtle sweetness and crunch works well and the pop of color (I had an orange pepper on hand) is an added bonus.

Rhubarb Salsa
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, finely diced
1/2 cup sweet bell peppers, finely diced
1/3 cup scallions, finely sliced
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1/2 cup pickled cocktail onions, quartered
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Juice from 1/4 a small lime
Fresh cilantro, to taste
Ground cayenne or chipotle pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste

Whisk together the honey, cider vinegar, and lime juice in a bowl.  Add rhubarb, peppers, and onions and toss until all ingredients are coated.  Season with ground pepper, salt, and fresh cilantro to taste.

Recipe adapted from Kitchen Konfidence.

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