sea kale
Sea kale & sea bass

Sea kale is a striking and hardy plant that seems to flourish on bleak, inhospitable pebble beaches. Quite often it will be alone, the only copper-green bloom of life bound and rooted expressively to the hard stones. In spring it buds, producing the most delicious broccoli-like spears. The new leaf growth is so tender you can eat it raw, while the slightly larger leaves respond well to blanching or steaming lightly and serving with butter and good olive oil. Both raw and cooked, the leaves have a gentle salinity, as many of our coastal greens do. In late spring and early summer, the plant blooms, producing dainty, edible white flowers. In the autumn it fruits, producing hundreds of pearl-like berries. In the winter, you can find the dead frames of sea kale plants tumbling about the beach in the wind, often with their berries still attached.

Serves 
serves 6 as a canapé
Ingredients 

serves 6 as a canapé

100g (31⁄2oz) impeccably fresh bass fillet, skinned

juice of 1⁄2 lemon

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

12 small sea kale or young curly kale leaves

sea kale flowers, if available

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method 

Place the sea-bass fillet on a board and cut it into thin slices, each no more than 5mm (1⁄4in) thick, across the grain.

Place the fish slices in a small bowl, then add the lemon juice and olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.

Gently wash the sea kale leaves and arrange them on a serving plate or a board. Spoon a little sea bass onto each leaf along with the oil and lemon from the bowl. Serve scattered with kale flowers, if available.