Pepper Dillisk & Sea Spinach: A Forager's Lunch
The Burren is quite a place. There's mountains, sheep and cattle farms, ancient ruins and a seashore that runs for miles along the Wild Atlantic Way. Last weekend, son Joe and I went foraging at low tide a few kilometers from our rent house. It was a spectacular day that resulted in some amazing eating.
My first sample of pepper dillisk blew my mind. The flavor had a distinct truffle oil note. What a great omelet ingredient, or a garnish for a salad, I was thinking as I nibbled away.
Our guide, Dave Donohue, pointed out some sea spinach and sea purslane growing along side the road as we walked to the beach. I pulled out my trusty scissors and took some clippings of each. "Never pull up the whole plant," Dave explained. "Take some clippings and leave the plant thriving to make more leaves."
Dave Donohue is a beloved character around the Burren. He's an artist, orator, children's book author, horse racing pundit, occasional oyster farmer, and food lover extraordinaire. Dave keeps powdered seaweed of several varieties on hand in his kitchen and uses them to season all sorts of dishes. He also makes his own seasalt from the local water. I begged him to take us out with him next time he gathered seaweed and he kindly agreed.
When we got home, I put the sea spinach and sea purslane on a salad plate with a roasted beet and a hard boiled egg and topped it with some crunchy pepper dillisk. It was the most interesting salad I've eaten in a long time.