I got my hands on a bunch of seashore vegetables at the weekend. Samphire I am familiar with. The juicy cactus like slender stems tastes of the sea and I usually munch my way through a pile of them before I can use them in a meal.
Sea aster and okahijiki, I am not familiar with. Sea aster doesn’t look dissimilar to wild garlic but has an iodine hint along with a subtle sweetness and a slight astringency. It grows in abundance in salt marshes and mud flats. The season lasts until October, so I feel a summer of experimentation is stretching ahead.
Okahijiki, or land seaweed is also a new discovery. A succulent, hailing from Japan, but it can also be grown in pots. Its juicy little matchstick like leaves have a lovely subtle flavour and crunchy texture and I think would work much better in a salad than how I have used it here. More experimentation is needed.
The seashore vegetables work well with the mushrooms and the broad beans. It would work quite nicely as a side dish with some grilled fish. The mushrooms are a nice alternative. A small spoonful in each wrapper, just enough to offer a little earthiness and a nod at a traditional dumpling flavour combination with the garlic and ginger.
A handful of samphire, sea aster and okahijiki, roughly chopped
1/2 cup broad beans
1/2 cup asparagus, chopped into 1cm pieces
½ cup mushrooms, diced finely
1 clove garlic
Small piece ginger, minced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 packet gyoza wrappers
Heat a little sunflower or groundnut oil in a pan and cook the mushrooms, ginger and garlic on a medium heat for about 3 -4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir through the sesame oil.
Mix together the broad beans, asparagus, samphire, sea aster and okahijiki in a bowl.
Take a gyoza wrapper and in the centre place a teaspoon of the vegetable mix and a teaspoon of the mushroom mix.
Dampen the edge of the wrapper with some water. Fold in half and pinch the edges to make little pleats on one side. The mixture should make about 15 dumplings.
Place the dumplings on an oiled greaseproof sheet and place in a steamer. Steam for about ten minutes.