Foraged with appreciation and respect for nature to support our wild-food connection by Miles Irving and team at Forager Ltd.
The word Aster translates as Star in ancient Greek. Sea aster comes from the Asteraceae sunflower family and is the perfect plant for celebrating our star the Sun as we enjoy the longest days of year.
A delicious tender, salty succulent with a sweet nutty flavour and an accent of iron, due to the high mineral content.
It is said to be a wonderful leaf for making sushi.
Suggestions for use:
Can be used raw or cooked - wash well before eating/cooking
Best consumed raw to appreciate the crunchy texture and juicy leaf.
Use in the same way you would broccoli or spinach to accompany meals, pairs particularly well with seafood.
To cook, simply wilt in some boiling water or steamer, or to enhance the flavour further fry gently in some butter and olive oil with a couple of cloves of finely chopped garlic.
Here is a suggested recipe for a very yummy side dish:
More info below from our guest collaborator Gee Derrick
Sea aster (Aster tripolium) can usually be found in salt marches, sea cliffs, and coastal mud flats. It’s native to Britain, Europe, North Africa and Asia.
Its tender and pretty looking shoots, stems, leaves are edible, and can be eaten raw in pestos, salads, pestos, or slightly sautéed, even baked. The plant also produces blue-purple, daisy like flowers with a bright yellow centre.
Sea aster is great veg to introduce into your cooking if you are not used to sea veg, as its tender leaves have a salty yet sweet flavour. Their salt flavour is not as pungent as other sea veg.
Here are some ideas:
Quick sautéed sea aster and/or samphire
Sauté a small shallot with a splash of olive oil in a saucepan until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Add 1 clove of garlic crashed and sauté for another minute. Add the sea aster and/or samphire
aster and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Douse with the juice of a 1/4 lemon and a splash of water.
Allow to simmer for about 3 minutes over medium heat. And it’s ready to serve… either on toast, or
Sea Aster Pate:
Adding it to a pate is another quick and easy way of trying sea aster, and I really like this recipe by Robin Harford.
200g smoked mackerel (remove any bones)
150g sea aster
100g cream cheese
1 lemon (juiced)
salt and cracked black pepper
1. Put the smoked mackerel, sea aster, cream cheese and a drizzle of olive oil into a a food
processor, and pulse until the consistency that you like, either smooth or chunky.
2. Then add the lemon juice and briefly pulse, then smear onto toast, crackers or just finger it
out of the bowl!