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A fresh bean that grows in the sea in the form of a long, pencil thin, cylindrical green stem that may have spherical-shaped, spike-like buds on the ends. Some varieties appear to look like a Chinese long bean while others may look similar to coral. The crisp textured bean stems and leaves can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, sautéed, or stir-fried to add a unique presentation for fish and seafood dishes. They are often served fresh in salads or can be boiled and served with melted butter for dipping. Pickled sea beans are also available at some specialty markets. Because of their sea-based rearing, they may taste salty or at times, somewhat fishy. To remove the salty flavor, soak the beans in fresh water for 8 to 12 hours and then discard the water before preparing. Also known as glasswort, pickle-plant, pousse-pied, salicornia tips, samphire, and sea asparagus.
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