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.
So before even really finding out what they were I found this recipe from hunter – angler – gardener – cook and made the recipe below.
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.