This week in our market bag we received sea beans or salicornia. I’ve never heard of them before, but once I saw them, I knew that I’ve come upon them before in the wild. They’re a succulent type plant that grows in salt mashes, beaches and mangroves. As expected straight from the sea, they’re very salty tasting but with a quick blanch and rinse, the saltiness recedes a little and it tastes like a grassy asparagus with a little extra salt.
I had to look up sea beans – actually salicornia by it’s genus to figure out what they were and how to use them. That’s one of the great things about a market bag or csa – you come upon some specialty ingredients you might not buy normally, but if they come in your bag, you’ll figure it out. Our marketbag comes with a newsletter that tells us what we are getting and has suggestions on it’s use. My suggestion is that however you use it, go light on the salt, because the sea bean will add it’s own saltiness in your dish.
I made a Spaghetti Squash, Sugar Snap Pea Pod and Sea Bean Salad with the salicornia. It gave it a nice crunch and little bit of grassy asparagus flavor. It was delicious. If you have the chance, give it a try.
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