Down at East Hampton's Three Mile Harbor, already mentioned about 100 times in S.D. posts about clams and oysters and the like, I've long eyed the lush clumps of Salicornia. This stalky succulent thrives in the salt marshes at water's edge, and now, at long last, I've been turned onto a great new recipe for Pickled Seabeans. Seabean is just one of the common names for these somewhat other-worldly sprouts. But Glasswort or Pickleweed would be a harder sell, don't you think?
Out in Seattle I met a very fine fellow, Langdon Cook: forager extraordinaire, author of Fat of the Land, and enthusiastic celebrator of nature's bounty.
Fresh salicornia has made appearances in ritzy fish dishes we've enjoyed in la belle France. I've occasionally snapped off a stem or two for a crunchy little chew on seaside missions for a while but I'd never been 100% sure this was indeed what I thought it was. Nor did I know what I might exactly do with it.
Imagine my joy when Langdon's Fat of the Land blog unlocked Salicornia's mysteries. An exotic new food just waiting for my harvest. A wonderful recipe to preserve them, great for gift giving. No one's ever heard of it but it sounds and looks really good. Pickled Seabeans are right down my alley, that's for sure.
Easy to gather, a simple pickle process and you're done. Here's the path to the harbor, the beans in the marsh, the pickling in progress and the final product. These fine youths wandered over to see what the old guy was up to, poking around and taking pictures. Budding food buffs who were also members of their school's photography club, we had a most pleasant chat. Just doing my part to educate the youth of America.
Lovely to look at, hand-gathered and home-canned, these crisp bold stalks unite our favorite flavors — imagine a clove of garlic surfing a briny wave shot through with sparks of hot pepper. Expect Pickled Seabeans to provide that extra je ne sais quoi with my fish dishes here on out.