One of my loveliest memories from my youth is of my parents walking on the coast of our beloved Hampshire, picking samphires from the sea.
“Yukky,” I used to grimace.
“In the war, we used to eat this, and the seaweed called carrageen moss, for the minerals. It saved our health, during the food rationing years,” my mum would say again and again.
On impulse, I decided to forage for samphires but chanced upon lovely beds of glasswort instead, so emerald in the summer sun in Bosham, again, one of the favourite places of my childhood.
Glassworts are also known as sea beans, and you could eat them raw. But the taste is more ‘acceptable’ to the palate not used to the strong taste.
First of all, make sure that there is no pollution in the area where the glasswort grows. Anti-foul from boats are poisonous! Pick only the young stem – not so tough to eat!
Boil for 10 minutes in a large pan of water (this will remove some of the saltiness.
Blanch immediately in cold water to keep its crispness.
Toss in olive oil and toasted sesame oil.
Top with finely grated ginger and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with avocado to soften the taste.
Note: what I love is the fact that this tastes like the seaweed dish I once fell in love with in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo….and to think, I can pick it in my backyard, literally!