We recently had friends from America come to stay at our home for waifs and strays. It was their first time in Wales so, of course, I wanted to give them a Welsh experience. So I started with a good old, stomach filling breakfast which consisted of cockles, laverbread and Welsh bacon.
Whilst my kind and unassuming husband tucked into his daily bowl of shredded wheat, our American friends, viewed their plates suspiciously.
As a child my father taught us how to collect this edible seaweed called laver which clings to rocks around the coast of Britain and East Coast of Ireland, where it is known a slake. We would wash it thoroughly to remove the sand then boil it for hours and hours. I remember thinking how soul destroying it was to see the pile of laver we took hours to collect, boil down to just a small mound. But I have to agree with Richard Burton, that laverbread is a Welshman’s caviar. This I told our friends, who decided that Mr Burton couldn’t possibly be wrong so tucked in. I have added a great recipe belonging to the hairy bikers....why not give it a try? I mustn’t forget to add, that our American friends enjoyed their breakfast and a long walk across Rhossili Bay.
Cockles, laverbread and Welsh bacon
225g/8oz ready-prepared laverbread (available in cans from online
freshly ground white pepper, to taste
225g/8oz picked cockle meat, cooked
1 leek, finely chopped
50g/2oz bacon fat
8 smoked bacon rashers, fried until crisp, to serve
1. In a bowl, mix together the laverbread and oatmeal until well
combined. Season, to taste, with freshly ground white pepper and set
aside for 20 minutes.
2. Melt the butter in a frying pan until foaming, then add the leek and fry
for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Add the picked cockle meat and
cook for a further 1-2 minutes, or until heated through.
3. With damp hands, pinch off pieces of the laverbread mixture and roll
into golf ball-sized balls. Flatten the balls slightly to make small
4. In a separate pan, heat the bacon fat over a medium heat. Fry the
laverbread patties, in small batches, for 2-3 minutes on both sides or
until golden-brown all over.
5. To serve, divide the laverbread patties among four serving plates
and spoon over the cockles and leeks. Top each serving with two
rashers of crisp bacon.
less than 30 mins
10 to 30 mins