Want a crispy-crunchy-salty snack that will never, ever, ever make you feel guilty — and may even help you lose weight?
Sea asparagus is a brilliant little green miracle, and one of my current favorite tastes. You can find it in farmer’s markets and local stores all over the islands — I pick it up in the produce section at Foodland — and if you see it on a menu, order the dish with confidence. Adding sea asparagus to a salad is as luxurious as adding bacon bits. It adds an undeniable, audible crunch and plenty of fresh sea salt with a texture that just plains feels good against the tooth.
It’s also good for you — lots of vitamins and minerals and there are all sorts of healthy reasons to add it to your meal. I think nature is just marvelous at designing foods that are both densely nutritious and darn yummy (thinking about you, blueberries). Even kids love the juicy, fresh flavor, the crunch, and the way the stems snap when you break them. You can eat it raw and unseasoned, right out of the box.
If you have a kitchen, take it home and chop it roughly and add it to a salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. A super simple dressing of rice vinegar and olive oil will be perfect. Taste before you season — sea asparagus is usually salty enough on its own. You can also blanch it quickly before dressing it, or saute it really quickly in butter and olive oil. Just barely cook it to keep that satisfying snap.
Sea asparagus isn’t native to Hawaii, but it’s cultivated on Oahu’s north shore (Kahuku) and sold everywhere in the state. It’s also known as glasswort, pickleweed, and marsh samphire, and grows all over the planet in saltwater marshes and on beaches.
A must taste!
For more tasty tips about what to eat on Maui, pick up Top Maui Restaurants.