Our resident chef Mark Hix on the merits of sea kale: the vegetable that's half kale, half seaweed, and all delicious

 
Mark Hix

A friend of mine brought me up some sea kale leaves and roots, or sea cabbage as it’s sometimes called, which was growing in her garden in Dorset (it’s actually illegal to pick it on the beach, which her garden backs onto, so this was totally legal and not poached, honest).

This time of year it’s just leafy like cabbage but in the summer it flowers just like sprouting broccoli. It sat in my fridge for a couple days so I thought I’d better use it for brunch, and cooked it with some onions and Trealy farm ham that Alex James gave me when I was up at his festival.

He gave me a delicious whole pecorino too, and with a poached egg it made a delicious new brunch dish.

You can turn most things into clever brunch dishes if you put your mind to it. I suggest throwing a brunch party with your mates instead of lunch. Just whip up some jugs of bloody Marys and you’re good to go. We don’t do brunch enough over here and there are some interesting dishes that make good use of seasonal ingredients and/or stuff you need to shift out of the fridge.

Sea Kale with Trealy farm ham, a poached Burford brown and pecorino

Ingredients (serves four)

If you can’t get your hands on sea kale or sea cabbage then substitute it for kale or curly kale (don’t poach it or you’ll end up in the nick).

  • 250-300g sea kale leaves
  • 3-4 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
  • 2-3 thick slices of ham, chopped
  • A couple knobs of butter
  • 4 Burford brown eggs
  • 70-80 grams of pecorino, grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  • Blanch the sea kale leaves in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes until tender then drain.
  • Cook the spring onions and ham in a pan in the butter on a low heat for a minute or so then add the sea kale
  • Season and continue cooking for another couple minutes. Meanwhile, poach the eggs then arrange the sea kale on warmed serving plates
  • Place the poached egg on top and scatter with the cheese.

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