I don’t know about you but I’m a bit tired of brown rice. I have a bag of it that’s been sitting in my pantry for awhile untouched. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll happily eat brown rice for the most part but I wanted to try something new. As it happens, my teacher at The Wellspring School for the Healing Arts mentioned rye berries offhandedly the other day when talking about good sources of fiber so when I was in the Co Op the other day Idecided to buy some. Now I’m the type of person that if I buy a new ingredient that I’m curious about, I better use it quickly or else I’ll forget about and it’ll start to gather dust (or in most cases moths). So I decided to cook up the rye berries without having any idea what they’d taste like or what the consistency would turn out to be.
Turns out, their delicious! Nutty tasting with a sort of crunchy consistency (that, or I undercooked them), they have more complexity than brown rice. It tastes like a wild rice…sort of. I decided to spoon the Red Kidney Beans Curry I had made over the rye berries and it felt like an explosion of healthy, delicious goodness in my mouth. So yes! I am now a big fan of rye berries and will now put them in my arsenal of a great alternative grain to brown rice.
Rye Berries are good!
The berry or kernel of rye, as like with wheat berries, they may be sprouted and used in its entirety in bread for the highest nutritional content.
Well, I had no real idea until they arrived in my Organics to You box on my doorstep yesterday. Amid the gorgeous tomatoes, deep purple eggplants, and juicy peaches came the sea beans in a sad little paper bag. Since I had little idea what to do with them, I was going to ignore them for awhile until divine inspiration struck or they went bad and I could no longer use them. Then I reminded myself that I started the Organics to You boxes so I could learn about and cook with NEW vegetables in my family’s diet. The boxes were supposed to be fun, not wasteful.
This is a simple sea bean salad, dressed with really good olive oil, chile, garlic and a little lemon juice. A crumbly cheese like feta or a Mexican cotija adds some richness.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
1 pound sea beans
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil (use high quality oil here)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
Black pepper to taste
1/4 cup crumbled feta or Mexican cotija cheese
1-2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the sea beans for 1 minute. Transfer them to a bowl of ice water to cool. Let them rest a few minutes. Lay out a tea towel or other cloth towel. Pick through the sea beans to remove any stray bits of seaweed, and to remove any discolored bits or woody bottoms. Use only the top 2-5 inches of the plant. Lay the cleaned sea beans on the towel to dry.
Pat the sea beans dry and toss with everything but the lemon juice. Add lemon juice until the salad is as tangy as you like it. Serve cold or at room temperature. This will keep in the fridge for a couple days.
I should mention, that after cooking the above recipe, I added heirlooms, sliced red onions, 86’ed the cotija and added some feta (See below. I know, lots of feta. I confess. I love cheese but, still, I feel healthy). This, paired with a glass of Domaine Des Lauribert and I was completely satisfied.
BTW – below is a little description of sea beans.
Salicornia, sea beans, samphire, whatever, are a perfect salad green. Mostly gathered along salt marshes, this plant is naturally salty and very crunchy. It can be bought from March to September, depending on where you are, but early summer is the best time to play with this veggie. Most people don’t like raw salicornia, and I prefer it boiled for 30-90 seconds, then shocked in ice water: This removes some of the salt, and sets that pretty jade color. You can then eat the sea beans as-is, or quickly stir-fry or pickle them. Sea-beans come from trees and vines that grow along tropical shores and rain forests all over the world. The seeds or fruits fall from their parent plant into waterways, such as the Amazon River, then drift through inlets to reach the ocean. They travel with ocean currents until they wash up on a beach somewhere, perhaps thousands of miles from their origin. Sea-beans are quite hard and buoyant, which helps them survive their long-distance voyage.
Yay, Sea Beans. Oh, and if you’re wondering…the sea beans were delicious! I’m not sure I ever ate them before but I will definitely be eating them again. Now, I’m going to try my hand with some rye berries and see what happens. I’ll be back.