Parsley Boiled in Seawater


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in


By Ben Shewry

Published 2012

  • About

In earlier times when sailors went to sea, running out of fresh water (beer or wine too) meant certain death. It could be months before the crew found fresh water, so to avoid wasting their precious drinking water for boiling cornmeal or other dried grains, they cooked their food in seawater. This resourcefulness meant that another meal of hardtack (a cracker used for sustenance in the absence of fresh foods), which was not particularly palatable, could be delayed, but lighting a fire on a wooden ship was, I imagine, a rather risky business! This dish takes its inspiration from the survival smarts of those sailors of antiquity. Parsley is an excellent vegetable to cook whole. At Attica we treat it like a normal green vegetable and boil it, stalk and all — nothing is wasted — for a few minutes. When boiled in seawater, the parsley takes on a much deeper flavour; one that cannot be replicated by just using tap water with salt added — the results are remarkably different.

To Finish

  • 12 small pieces fresh edible red algae
  • 12 pieces hairy weed seaweed
  • 12 pieces wild sea lettuce
  • 4 pieces float leaf seaweed
  • 1 native finger lime, halved and pearls removed

Place 2 stems of parsley boiled in seawater in each bowl, lay the mussels on next and then the remaining parsley. Place the red algae, hairy weed, sea lettuce and float leaf seaweed on top of the parsley. Sprinkle over a little of the finger lime pearls and mussel floss. Add a few drops of the verjus distillation and finish with a tablespoon of the glasswort dressing.

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