If you haven’t already tried sea asparagus, it is definitely worth a shot! True to its name, it shares a likeness to asparagus in appearance, colour, and texture. In addition, it can be prepared and used in a very similar way to asparagus. The only difference however, is that it grows near the ocean and in marshes lining the sea. Also known as sea pickle, glasswort or samphire, by the English, this marine vegetable is considered to be a delicacy in the culinary industry.
Did you know this plant grows all along our very own coastlines? It is often overlooked, as people stroll along dikes, or bike around bays, not recognizing the plant growing alongside their paths is sea asparagus, a culinary delight added to plates of some of the world’s finest gourmet restaurants!
Commonly paired with seafood, this plant is easy to prepare. It is often steamed or blanched and mixed with a little garlic butter. Although naturally salty, as it is a salt water succulent, blanching or soaking it in fresh water before cooking will tone down the flavour
Courtesy of Misty Mountain Specialties, the wild mushroom vendor at the bi-weekly Steveston Farmers Market, here is a recipe calling for sea asparagus. (Sea asparagus is in season in June and July, however some stores, like Misty Mountain, do carry fresh frozen supplies.)
Roasted Wild Mushroom Salad with Sea Asparagus:
1 lb of wild mushroom mix
1 shallot diced
olive oil (for roasting)
1/4 lb of sea asparagus
2 oz of goat cheese
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh chopped dill
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
juices in the pan (from mushrooms)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Clean mushrooms and separate clusters. Toss into a mixing bowl with shallots, olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper. Pour into baking tray and roast for about 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool mushrooms.
To assemble salad:
Roughly chop up the mushrooms. Chop the shallot finely, and both to salad bowl. Add roughly chopped sea asparagus and chopped fresh dill. Crumble goat cheese in and then toss. Mix vinegar, Dijon mustard, roasting liquids from mushrooms and olive oil. Pour all over salad. Toss again and serve.