Sea beans grow rampant down at the Key Peninsula. They’re everywhere, just waiting to be harvested. I’d never known about this bounty, hiding in plain site, until Melanie introduced me to this salty snack during Sunday morning’s low tide. They’re certainly very cute, and harvesting them could not be easier. But what ARE they?
Sea beans grow in clumps galore along the beaches and estuaries of the Puget Sound. (Edible Seattle has a great article that gets more technical about sea beans.) Melanie first learned about sea beans when she saw them at the Foraged & Found booth at our farmer’s market. Since then, she’s been foraging and finding them herself.
At low tide, you just walk up to an unsuspecting clump, take out your pocket knife, and clip off a few branches of the succulent greens, down by the base.
You can eat sea beans with all kinds of food – we’ll make them with stir fry, put them in a salad, or just serve them alongside fish. You can’t go wrong with grilled halibut and sea beans.
Make sure your sea bean’s water source is clean. When you get them home, give them a good rinse. We steamed them for a minute until they were bright green. They taste – well – like beans of the sea. Bright, salty, and they kind of pop in your mouth.
Salt and pepper your halibut fillet and put it on the grill over medium heat. Put it skin side down for about twenty minutes. It’s ready to eat when it’s flaking a bit.
We’re going to try making them in potato salad, and also try our hand at pickling them this summer.
- Farm to Fork: A Recipe from the San Juan Islands, Washington (williams-sonoma.com)
- Chanterelle Mushroom Harvest on the Key Peninsula (seattlefoodshed.wordpress.com)