Laverbread with Clams and Bacon on Toast


Edible Seashore River Cottage HandbookThe unusual and unfamiliar taste and texture of Laver is something that should be enjoyed at its very best the first time you try it. This, I think, is it. First you need to make your laverbread. It takes an extraordinarily long time to cook, anywhere between 5 and 10 hours depending on species and time of year, but the process can be speeded up enormously if you use a pressure cooker. Place your well-washed Laver in a heatproof bowl, cover it with an upturned heatproof plate and sit in 4–5 cm water inside a pressure cooker. Cook for about an hour. This is a long time in a pressure cooker and is best done in two stages to prevent the water boiling dry and the aromatic calamity that would follow. When the Laver is cooked, transfer it to a clean saucepan, then heat and stir until the excess liquid is reduced and a coarse, sticky purée is formed.

If you are determined to follow tradition and cook for the whole 5 to 10 hours the best pot to use is a thick-bottomed preserving pan with a lid. Stir occasionally and then reduce the cooking liquor until a sticky consistency is reached. Whichever way you use, there is a considerable investment in time and energy so it is worth cooking a large quantity and freezing whatever is not needed immediately.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 100 g laverbread
  • 6 rashers of best streaky bacon
  • 20 or so Venus Clams or 40 Cockles
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • 4 large slices of warm toast
How to Make It
  1. Once you’ve made your laverbread, chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces, then gently fry in a dry frying pan until just crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a warm plate and keep warm.
  2. Carefully add a little water to the pan, then add the shellfish. Cover  with a tight-fitting lid and cook until the shells steam open, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and take the shellfish out, emptying any juice back into the pan. Shell the Clams and keep them warm.
  3. Throw the laverbread into the clam juice and bacon fat, stir and gently fry, reducing to that sticky consistency again. Towards the end add a little lemon juice. Spread the laverbread on toast and top with the bacon and Clams.

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