It wasn’t until I lived in Vancouver, BC, I knew of sea asparagus, another vegetable that grows like a thick wild green lawn, along the ocean intertidal shores. It is harvested by hand. Sea asparagus, sea beans, samphire or its biological name, salicorum virginica, bears no resemblance, to asparagus spears that grow in farmers’ fields.
Sea asparagus is a delicate, green tiny plant that’s best bought fresh and in a pile that’s bundled up for the customer. You need to store it in the fridge in a paper bag and use it up within 3-4 days. Vendor literature claims up to 14 days for fridge shelf life. This has not been my experience. This sea vegetable plant simply turns brown and shrivels up into salty bits.
Sea asparagus like one of Nature’s other sea vegetables, seaweed. However like some seaweeds, use sea asparagus sparingly since its salt content is high. Sure, just 3-4 raw sprigs is just enough for the day.
I have chopped sea asparagus roughly and treated it similar to soy sauce for cooking savoury dishes that have sauces, in a stew, scrambled eggs or with meat. I tend to add sea asapargus within last 5-10 min. of cooking. On the rare occasion putting just a few buds in a sandwich as a condiment, will enliven your sandwich filling.
More Interesting Reading
Bauchnet, Rebecca. Sea Veggies . In Eat Magazine. Apr. 2012, p. 31.