24 July 2014

Sardines, Sea Weed & Samphire with Garlic Lemon Sauce.

4 sardines
50g local seaweed; sea lettuce
50g local samphire
6 small new potatoes
60g organic butter
1 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sprigs thyme, chopped
2 sprigs lemon verbena, chopped
1/2 lemon + zest
sea salt

I have been meaning to forage and cook my own sea weed for quite some time. I had originally planned to make a kelp stir fry, but when I had a beautifully warm weekend ahead of me I chose to make a recipe using grilled sardines with sea weed & samphire, new potatoes, butter, lemon & garlic sauce.
I took a trip to my local beach and went for a walk with my collecting bowl. I was looking for a type of seaweed called 'sea lettuce' (Ulva Lactuca) a lovely bright green, healthy looking seaweed that often grows in rock pools. The pieces I collected were not attached to rocks but excess pieces that had washed up on to the beach.

There are many many types of seaweed, but along the south coast where I live you will more than likely only see a handful of different species, all of which are edible (some may not be something you would want to eat, due to lack of flavour.) There are some poisonous sea weeds in the UK seas, but they are deep sea and you will probably not come across these. I covered the basics on foraging in the following article: Wild Coastal Forage.

If you are going coastal foraging, I would recommend reading it or doing research so that you know what species to look for and how to forage without causing harm to the plants you are collecting, to preserve them for future foraging. I would say when collecting seaweed, it is important to collect from clean areas with as little pollution as possible. This particular seaweed can be fried, boiled or eaten raw. Benefits of Ulva Lactuca include it being high in protein, soluble dietary fibre and a variety of vitamins and minerals, especially iron. It is also an excellent natural detox food.

Samphire grows on rocks at the coast. I could have foraged this myself but decided to take a trip to my local fishmonger 'Captain Stan's Bembridge Fish Store', who source all of their fish, lobster, samphire from our nearby shores. I bought a good handful of samphire and had wanted to buy some mackerel caught fresh that morning, however the mackerel is unseasonably late this year and in the end I had to buy sardines. Ask your fish monger to de-scale and gut the fish for you if you are not comfortable doing it yourself. 

To prepare, first take your new potatoes and place them in boiling water, let them cook for 15-20 mins until softened, then drain. Whilst they are cooking, wash your Samphire and seaweed well, removing any sand and place in boiling water for a couple minutes, before draining. The fish is simple too - rub a little sea salt into the sides of the fish and on argil for pan 5 mins each side, plate up the fish, potatoes, seaweed and Samphire. For the sauce, simply place your butter and garlic in a pot and cook for a couple of minutes without letting the garlic brown. Add the lemon, a little lemon zest and herbs, stir and pour over your fish, potatoes and sea vegetables. Delicious, fresh and light for a warm summers day.

Serves 2.