Laverbread: Welsh caviar, a true superfood
Richard Burton called it the ‘Welshman’s caviar’, while others cringe at the thought of swallowing seaweed.
Whatever the difference of opinion, there’s no doubt that laverbread – or ‘bara lawr’ – remains a popular delicacy in restaurants not just throughout its homeland but further afield.
However there’s no getting away from the fact that it is deserves better recognition given its nutritional profile and unique flavour.
At Bwyty Sosban Restaurant in Llanelli, head chef Ian Wood knows only too well the popularity of this Welsh superfood, which he serves as a garnish, in sauce or as an addition to the main meal itself.
He said: “We source our laverbread locally from the Gower and it is a popular item which we tend to serve as a sauce with muscles from neighbouring Penclawdd.
“It is also something I use with sea bass and cockles because the flavours complement one another so well.”
Made from seaweed, washed and pureed, then cooked to make a soft greenish black paste, laverbread is nutritious and filled with health benefits.
Traditionally eaten fried with bacon and cockles as part of a Welsh breakfast, it is also commonly used as a sauce to accompany lamb, crab or monkfish and can even be made into soup.
Rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and low in calories, it is a rare plant source of vitamin B12, that also includes iron and iodine.
Ian, the former head chef at Terence Conran’s Boundary and Islington’s Almeida explained: “Laverbread really is a superfood in that respect and is a versatile ingredient which can be used creatively in restaurants and in traditional home cooked recipes alike.
“Although it doesn’t appear on our menu every day of the week, there’s no doubt that our customers enjoy the taste.”
Bwyty Sosban Restaurant is based on North Dock, Llanelli. For further details visit www.sosbanrestaurant.com
Recipe: Traditional Welsh laverbread breakfast cake
4 – 6 slices of streaky bacon
2 tbsp oatmeal
1. Take a small pudding basin and tip in the oatmeal. Shake to coat sides.
2. Tip in laverbread and toss several times until the laverbread is coated with the oatmeal.
3. Fry the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from the pan and tip the laverbread into the hot fat.
4. Keep shaking the pan until the laverbread is cooked.
5. Turn the laverbread and oatmeal onto a hot plate and serve with the bacon.