After the rain that we have had and now that the temperatures are warming up, it is not only the greens in the veg patch that are sprouting. The hillsides are not only covered in beautiful spring flowers, little pink wild orchids, tiny bee orchids and miniature wild irises only a few centimeters tall, but there is also wild garlic with delicate pink flowers and wild asparagus which is worth the fight with the thorns from last years plant that protects it.
Along the seashore there are delicacies to harvest as well. Crispy bright green Samphire and the succulent leaves of the Ice Plant which are only tender enough for a short time in the spring to be harvested. Even at this time of the year the Samphire that is in full sun all day has a tendency to be tough, so it is worth searching out bright green sprouts in shady spots. You need to take a pair of scissors and just trim off the tender ends into your bag. You can see from the photo just how you have to seek out this years tender shoots from last years dried out remains.
The Ice Plant – Mesembryanthemum Cristallinum – is so call because of the crystal-like cells that it has on its surface, particularly the underside of the leaves. To harvest the most tender of the Ice Plant leaves the same applies as the Samphire, look for brighter green leaves in the shade.
For both plants the uses are the same. You can give them a good wash and put them in your salads, steam them and add butter and a touch of lemon and have them to accompany fish, add them to stir frys and Thai curries. The Andalucian way is to make a Revuelto. This would include the wild garlic greens and asparagus, and if you are a bit flush some prawns. Fry the prawns and all your greens in some good olive oil until the prawns are half cooked and the greens a brighter colour. Add some beaten and seasoned eggs and over a very low heat stir until the eggs thicken into a creamy mass. Turn out onto warmed plates and eat immediately with crunchy fresh bread.