Nature holds surprises and precious treasures, available to watchful eyes and wise hands. The ancients knew this, and popular culinary tradition remembers it.
Among these treasures there is the salicornia: not a seaweed, not a vegetable, but a spontaneous herbaceous plant of the succulent type that in Italy grows in bushes on shorelines and near rocks, where it stores large amounts of water and mineral salts. As its informal name suggests, it is distinguished by its appearance similar to the wild asparagus whose miniature form it reproduces. Sea asparagus is valuable to the environment: a specimen of halophytic flora, saltwort in fact contributes to preserving biodiversity because of its ability to survive in high degrees of salinity.
Sea asparagus: a super food of antiquity
It is said that sailors, mariners and Vikings were very familiar with sea asparagus and provided themselves with copious supplies for their crossings. Sea asparagus was valuable for its supply of minerals and nutritional properties. In addition to iodine, sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium, it is in fact rich in vitamins A, B1 and B15, C and D, which strengthened the immune defenses of seafarers, and not only theirs, and omega-3.
A vegetable of many resources, the glasswort also found uses outside the table: at one time the ashes obtained from its combustion were used to make sodium carbonate, which was used to make glass and soap.
Potato dumplings, shellfish and sea asparagus: the Salicornia in San Baylon's menu
Natural, purifying, refreshing, with savory and bitterish hints: sea asparagus has been used in cooking since ancient times and today it is expertly dosed and paired especially with fish dishes, to which it adds the unmistakable salicornia note that gives it a special sea flavor. San Baylon's Executive Chef Marco Ciccotelli chooses to embellish his Potato Gnocchi with Shellfish with salicornia: perfectly balanced textures and aromas for a dish that navigates taste and imagination.