Sea kale – Cramba marítima – is a native English vegetable still growing wild near some sea shores. It isn’t yet cultivated widely but is available, forced like rhubarb, in late winter. With its delicate flavour and exquisite crisp texture this vegetable is an aristocrat like asparagus.
Sea kale has been neglected in the past but is now grown commercially in Brittany and is available in Britain via the Paris market at the end of February and during March. The inevitable insult will be its resurgence of popularity as that French delicacy ‘la crambe maritime‘.
Kale is anyway a misnomer, this being no brassica. Beware market men selling Swiss chard under the same name. Once separated from sprouts and cauli or new favourites kiwifruit and pawpaw, large sections of the greengrocery trade tend to become confused.
© 1990 Shaun Hill. All rights reserved.