Wednesday, December 23, 2009
What are Sea Beans?
That was a question I asked about a year and a half ago when our chef friend Ian had them on the daily special’s menu. It turns out sea beans are a very mild tasting, salty sea vegetable. The flavor it not at all like seaweed, it is very mild and reminds me of the taste of baby spinach, only less intense.
When I saw the sea beans yesterday at Wegman’s I knew I had to buy them. I remembered Ian telling me to soak them to remove some of the salty flavor so when I got home I tasted one raw. Wow, are they salty! Today the sea beans soaked in cold water in the refrigerator for about 6 hours. When I tasted them again they were less salty, but still salty. So I decided to quickly blanch them to see if I could encourage more of the salt to come out without making them mushy. I blanched the beans in simmering water for about 45 seconds and they were less salty.
I served them over rice that I didn’t salt so that together the salinity would be correct. I also added sliced almonds on top (unpictured because I didn’t like the way they looked in the photo). We had this will thinly sliced porky seitan on the side.
If you haven’t tried sea beans please consider them. They are high in protein and have a very pleasant and mild taste. The texture is most similar to a very thin asparagus. Most importantly they don’t take long to make. A quick blanch of less than a minute and they are ready.