Forage for seaweed
Should you be planning time off for a sea-side trip, have yourself a busman’s holiday by foraging for seaweed. The summer’s a great time to look for laver, a seaweed that the Welsh make into laverbread.
Actor Richard Burton described laverbread as “Welshman’s caviar”. Laver itself is commonly found all around the West coast of Britain and the East coast of Ireland, where it’s known as slake. You can spot it clinging to rocks at low tide. It has a smooth texture and a brownish colour but boils down to a very dark green (almost black), silky puree. This is what the Welsh call laverbread. It’s then traditionally mixed with oatmeal or porridge oats and formed into thin patties, which are fried until crispy alongside sausage and bacon to be served as “a miner’s breakfast”.
Laver’s high iodine content gives it a distinctive flavour in common with olives and oysters. It’s also a great source of protein, iron and vitamins B2, A, D and C making it highly nutritious.
You can buy tinned laverbread in Wales and over the Internet but to make your own, simply forage a batch of laver, wash it, leave it to soak in fresh water and then rinse to get rid of sand. Repeat this cleaning cycle a couple of times to make sure your laver is totally sand-free. Once you’re happy it is, put it in a large saucepan. Cover it with fresh water and bring it to the boil. Let it boil slowly for at least five hours to achieve your puree. Leave it to cool. Drain off any excess water and depending on how much laver you collected, divide your laverbread into batches for use now and to freeze.