Midsummer sea asparagus & sunflower sprout stir-fry

After stopping by the Kits Farmers Market this past weekend, I was pumped to experiment with sea asparagus for the first time. This perennial marine veggie (Salicornia virginica) grows in estuaries, marshes and flats along BC’s coast, and it can be renewably wild-harvested from about May until early July.

The sunflower sprouts in the recipe were grown by fellow UBC aggie alumnus Chris Thoreau who operates a bicycle-delivered, urban farming business. My Urban Farm sells sprouts at some of the Vancouver Farmers Markets.  I was pleasantly surprised to find them at Greens Organic & Natural Market, which, as  I mentioned in an old post, also happens to have been initiated by UBCers. Besides being more digestible than straight-up seeds, sunflower sprouts contain a ridiculous amount of vegan protein. I’ve planted quite a few sunflowers of my own this summer from a variety that was bred for heavy seed production, and I’m planning to dabble in sprouting and a little seed butter production this autumn.

Musical inspiration: “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” Neutral Milk Hotel

Sweet and sour miso sauce

  • 2 Tbsp miso
  • 2 Tbsp sodium-reduced tamari
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 cloves finely minced garlic

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl, and set aside.

Stir-fry proper

  • 2 cups sea asparagus
  • 2.5 cups sunflower sprouts
  • 2.5 cups oyster mushroom, sliced lengthwise
  • 5 carrots, sliced diagonally
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 stalks rhubarb, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil

Soak the sea asparagus in cold water for one hour, and drain. Blanch for 2 minutes and immediately transfer to a bath of icewater. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat, and add the onions and carrots. Sauté for 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Add the mushrooms and rhubarb, and after cooking for 5 minutes, pour the sauce over top. Simmer for a few minutes, and add the sea asparagus and sunflower sprouts for just long enough to remove the sea asparagus’s chill.

Serve in the centre of a bed of sesame-seaweed purple potatoes.


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