How to cook sea asparagus

Can a salty inexperienced twig save the planet? Whereas scientists work out the best way to develop this “newly rising vegetable” commercially, we will do our half by choosing up a bundle of sea asparagus.

With its mild crunch, vibrant sea-salt style and vivid inexperienced color that turns into much more intense after a fast sauté, salicornia (its official title) provides a burst of color and salt to seafood dishes and makes a fairly aspect dish, garnish or salty snack.

It’s not seaweed and it’s not a cactus, although it resembles each. Sea asparagus grows wild in summer time on the east and west coasts. Importers are bringing it in from salt water farms in Israel and Mexico and from Morocco, Italy and France, the place it grows in salt marshes and in crevices alongside cliffs. I as soon as spent a month cleansing pousse pierre (push stone) at a Michelin-starred restaurant within the Loire with a gaggle of 12-year-old apprentices.

In Toronto, I just lately purchased wild sea asparagus from Oregon on the Massive Carrot. It’s additionally offered within the basement of St. Lawrence market, and I hear it is going to be exhibiting up quickly in chosen supermarkets.

Agricultural scientists are enthusiastic about sea asparagus as a result of it’s wealthy in Vitamin C and grows close to the ocean in areas the place nothing else survives. It may be irrigated with sea water, which saves on scarce contemporary water, and it doesn’t require pesticides or fertilizers.

The draw back is that the younger inexperienced shoots are fragile, with a brief shelf life, in order that they’re harder to move than, say, rock-hard tomatoes or strawberries. Maybe that’s a great factor, so it’s going to at all times be a particular deal with.

Sea asparagus has many names. Its official one, Salicornia, means salty horn in Latin.

It’s also referred to as glasswort — it was as soon as used within the manufacturing of glass and cleaning soap — saltwort, pickle weed, sea bean, sea ginseng, samphire or marsh samphire.

Verify the saltiness of your sea asparagus earlier than utilizing. Calgary chef Paul Rogalski finds an enormous variation in flavour relying on the time of yr and the place the “salty little devils” are harvested. In the event that they’re salty, add much less salt to your dish. In the event that they’re delicate, add additional salt.

Cultivated sea asparagus is able to use after a fast rinse.

Trim off any woody bits on the base and snap into 2 to 3-inch (5 to 7.5 cm) lengths if lengthy.

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Sea asparagus (Salicornia) is an otherworldly wanting vegetable, and sure, it’s a vegetable Signe Langford/The Globe and Mail

Even when you’ve by no means heard of it, you might have already trod on it on the seashore or seen piles of it at farmers’ markets. And except you are the curious sort, you might need walked proper on by. Sea asparagus (Salicornia) is an otherworldly wanting vegetable, and sure, it’s a vegetable.

Numerous species develop across the globe; the one we see right here is native to North America. A succulent – its pea-green segments are plump with salt water – it is already completely seasoned. Take pleasure in it uncooked in a salad, or cooked and eaten as you may inexperienced beans or asparagus (the terrestrial type); it is a pure with seafood.

On the East Coast, it is most frequently referred to as samphire greens or seashore asparagus, however it’s also referred to as sea beans, glasswort, crow’s foot greens and plenty of different regional names. Benefiting from two rising seasons, wild meals professional and forager Jonathan Forbes sells sea asparagus from each coasts, beginning in early June to late July from north of Sooke, B.C., then from late June till the tip of August from Nova Scotia. And the way does Forbes like his salicornia? “My favorite manner of consuming it’s in a salad with contemporary greens with an olive oil, lemon, garlic, anchovy, yogurt dressing.”

The worth ranges from $12 to $20 a pound at your native farmers’ market, or discover preserved sea asparagus at Forbes’s web site,

Grilled Entire Ontario Trout in Sea Asparagus

Bury an entire Ontario trout in a mattress of naturally moist and salty sea asparagus. Over the grill or within the oven, the salty water of the vegetable will steam and season the fish because it cooks. You probably have a grilling basket, that is excellent; if not, tinfoil will work simply positive. This recipe is ripe for improvising. Use no matter sustainable fish you like, entire or filleted. I like entire fish as a result of the cavity gives one other place so as to add flavour and components – maybe extra sea asparagus.

Prepared Time : 30 minutes


2 1-pound contemporary entire rainbow trout, cleaned, head and tail on

2 tbsp butter, softened, or Four tsp olive oil

Freshly floor black pepper, to style

About 1 pound sea asparagus, rinsed and drained

A couple of sprigs of your favorite contemporary herbs

1 lemon, washed, thinly sliced and seeded


Rub the fish inside and outdoors with both butter or olive oil, then season with black pepper; don’t salt till you style the completed fish as a result of the ocean asparagus will add saltiness.

Stuff the cavity with any mixture of sea asparagus and contemporary herbs of your alternative.

Lay the lemon slices on either side of the fish.

Tuck sea asparagus throughout the fish, both inside a grilling basket or on heavy-duty tinfoil. Drizzle with extra olive oil. If utilizing foil, make a decent bundle.

Grill over a medium-high grill, flipping halfway via, or roast within the oven at 450 F. Cooking time is dependent upon the thickness of the fish, however typically depend on about 10 minutes for every inch of thickness, or use a meat thermometer – the fish is cooked when it reaches 120-140 F on the thickest level.


Simple and fast. Nice various to uncooked sea asparagus — and an ideal aspect to white fish.

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    • half of pound sea asparagus
    • 1-2 shallots or wild leeks – sliced.
    • butter or cooking fats
    • Contemporary lemon juice


    1. 1. Clear and soak sea asparagus for 1-2 hours in chilly water. Drain. 2. Saute shallots (or ramps) in cooking oil on low warmth for 4-5 minutes. Add asparagus to pan and saute for an extra 2-Three minutes. Place in serving dish, and sprinkle with squeeze of contemporary lemon juice.

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