Forage; (of a person or animal) search widely for food or provisions.
In our experience, food is better shared. It is also better when served al fresco in way of post surf nourishment. Taking to the abundant coastline of Ireland we joined Finn to harvest some local organic delicacies.
When the Finisterre crew got in touch, I wanted to create a meal, inspired by my favourite places to ramble and harvest, just a stones throw from my house. I’ve been big into mussels as a light summer meal and the very last of the wild garlic was still poking through by the river. We were able to forage vibrant green wild garlic leaves for the main dish (before taking a little break to hop in for a dip at a waterfall) and meadowsweet flowers that would make cordial for a refreshing drink.
Near to where the crew were camped up for the week is my absolute favourite spot for harvesting mussels (as well as a few different varieties of seaweed, like sea lettuce and nori when the season is right) and its also the perfect spot for a beach fire to cook them up on and set up for the night!
Wild cooking, on a beach, with fresh food, some big rocks as a tabletop and nice sunset is my absolute favourite way to cook. I was able to get lots of other bits for the meal from the kitchen garden of my dads ecolodge, the Gyreum, in Sligo. So even the food we didn't harvest that day was fresh out of the ground too- an array of potatoes cooked up in seawater, bay leaves and onions for the mussels and blackcurrants that made the drizzle for the cake.
The lot was cooked either over the flames that evening, either in a big cast iron pots or in the embers, but these recipes can be easily recreated using a bbq or with a conventional oven and stove top. Though eating it outdoors after picking it yourself definitely adds to the flavour!
Wild Garlic Mussels in White Wine & Broth
• Enough mussels for 4 people - roughly 10-15 per person - get yours from your local fishmonger if you're not sure on harvesting or water quality in your area - always discard any mussels that stay open after you tap them.
• 1 small white onion
• 1/2 cup of white wine
• 1/2 cup of vegetable stock
• 2 bay leaves
• Small handful of roughly chopped wild garlic leaves or two crushed cloves of regular garlic
• Butter and oil for the pan
• Freshly chopped parsley to sprinkle over after
• Crusty bread for soaking up the sauce (we used the gluten free soda bread recipe from my cookbook Finn’s World)
Heat a big pot (that has a lid) to a medium high heat. Once its hot add a little butter and oil (this stops the butter from burning) to the pan and sauté the onions till they're translucent. Add the wine and bay leaves and allow them to cook off a bit, 1-2 minutes. Add the mussels and stock and garlic, stir and put the lid on. Let the mussels steam away for 5-10 minutes or until most of the mussels are open. Discard any mussels that haven't opened.
Serve topped with parsley and a crusty bread to soak up the lovely juices.
Finn lives, cooks and surfs on the wild north west coast of Ireland in the seaside town of Bundoran. Having moved her whole life - around Ireland, America, Spain and the Canary Islands - she proud to now call this sliver of coastline home. Finn’s love of the ocean started as a child, practically growing up on the beach or in the Atlantic water. As she got older that was reflected in her studies - a BSc in Earth & Ocean BSc and a Marine Biology MSc. The other great love is food, always baking, collecting cookbooks and working in the food industry through school and college.
Finn now travels the country as a private chef for yoga and wellness retreats
Read More About Finn Here