June 14, 2012
The South West coastline offers a diverse range of edible wild foods and as a starting point you can do no better than getting to know sea beet.
It fits into the categories of wild food I encourage people to try because it is easily identifiable, grows in abundance and is a versatile ingredient which you can introduce into your cooking.
This is me picking the plant growing from a crevice in some rocks by the Severn bridge. Where it is rooted in soil or on the upper beach you will find multiple bushy clumps. It has dark green, smooth, shiny, spear shaped leaves. It is difficult to mistake for anything else – but as always you should use a photographic guidebook to make sure.
You can use this green vegetable in many ways. For a quick and tasty sea shore breakfast, lunch or supper I would recommend using it as an ingredient in this recipe for a mackerel and sea beet omelette.
You will need a whole mackerel, a red onion, a couple of eggs, seasoning and a good couple of handfuls of sea beet leaves.
Grill or fry the fish and flake the flesh. Thinly slice a ¼ of the onion. Wash, de-stalk, roughly chop and blanche the sea beet in simmering water and drain. Beat your eggs and add seasoning. Lightly fry the onion in some oil, then add half the flaked fish, half the sea beet and pour over the egg mix and cook until set. I can assure you that you will enjoy this and if you get another couple of eggs you have enough ingredients left over to make another one.
It’s also lovely to eat without the mackerel and it makes more of the flavour of the sea beet. If you try this vegetarian option I would recommend frying a finely chopped clove of garlic with the onion.
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