by Robin Harford
When I was a youngling aged 9, I distinctly remember being served bubble and squeak at school out of plastic buckets by ‘diner ladies’, who where nothing more than tyrannical old bisoms in disguise.
Needless to say such experiences traumatised me to the point that I never wanted to eat cabbage (if it could even have been called that by the time they’d boiled every last vestige of vitamin content out of it) ever again. And to combine potato and cabbage was enough to make me wretch just thinking about it.
However during my 30′s I was rescued from these horrific memories by a friend who this time served up bubble n squeak properly. I decided that such a dish was actually worthy of creating, and plonking down in front of friends, and so began a new found love affair.
Recently I decided to try a variation of it using sea beet, and much to the ums-and-ahs of a willing friend realised it was worthy of sharing with you.
Fortunately buckets and diner ladies are no longer part of my reality. No need to attempt at being a Michelin star chef, nope today you’re going to try a simple dish, one that is humble, wholesome and highly nutritious. Food fit for noble peasants everywhere. To the stove dear friends to the stove, and onwards.
About Sea Beet
Sea beet is native to the coasts of Europe, northern Africa, and southern Asia. It also lives in the wild along some shores in Great Britain and Ireland. A fleshy, dark green perennial, it grows in large clumps in shingle, salt-marsh margins, old sea walls, grasslands and sandy places. It’s a hairless plant with large, shiny, leathery leaves whose shapes vary from triangular to heart-shaped and are untoothed. These are borne on reddish stems and are ideally suited to withstand salt conditions. It the wild ancestor of common vegetables such as beetroot, sugar beet, and Swiss chard. Its leaves have a pleasant texture and taste when served raw or cooked, and because of this it is also known as wild spinach.
- 8oz sea beet tops (shredded)
- 24oz potatoes (diced)
- big dollop of butter
- salt and pepper
- Boil the potatoes until soft, then mash with salt and pepper.
- Steam the sea beet while the potatoes are cooking, when done combine both together.
- Heat a frying pan and melt butter, then fry the mixture until brown on one side, then turn over and fry gently until brown on tuther. Serve.
© Robin Harford
Robin runs wild food foraging courses & walks around Britain. Courses are run in Scotland, Devon, London, Oxfordshire, West Sussex, Yorkshire etc. – See more at: www.foragingcourses.com
For more of Robin’s wonderful foraging based recipes see: Eat Weeds – Wild food guide to the edible plants of Britain and beyond…