Crispy gut weed with potato cakes

Crispy gut weed with potato cakes

Andrew Montgomery

Gut weed is the sort of seaweed that cloaks exposed rocks in robes of green and then, as the tide floods it rises to the water – a thousand thread-like forms, swaying in the back-and-forth of the waves. This recipe shows you how to prepare this wonderful wild food – it tastes brilliant when fried until crisp.


Quantity Ingredient
1 good handful gut weed, washed in several changes of water until clean
450g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 3–4cm cubes, such as Maris Piper or King Edward
2 teaspoons salt, plus extra for seasoning
1 knob butter
2 shallots
or 1 small onion, finely sliced
1-2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
30g cheddar cheese, grated
sunflower oil, for deep frying
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Prepare the gut weed well in advance. Squeeze out all the excess water from washing, then layer it out over a clean, dry tea towel set over a tray. Let it dry for several hours in the sun (outside or on a sunny windowsill) or in the fridge.
  2. When the gut weed is dry, place the potato pieces in a large pan and cover them with plenty of fresh water. Add the salt and bring the water to the boil. Boil the potatoes for 20–30 minutes, or until they are nice and tender. Then, drain them in a colander and leave them there for 15 minutes to allow the steam to evaporate.
  3. Meanwhile, place a medium frying pan over a low heat. Add half the butter, then the sliced shallots or onion. Add the thyme leaves, stir, and season. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are soft and just beginning to colour (about 15–20 minutes).
  4. Tip the potatoes into a bowl and mash them really well. Fold through the cooked shallot or onion, the remaining butter, and the Cheddar, and season well. Form the potato mixture into 2 generous cakes and chill, covered, in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  5. To cook the gut weed, fill a large pan 7–10cm deep with sunflower oil and bring the oil to a heat of 160°C (or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil fizzes and turns golden). Cook the gut weed in small batches for 30–60 seconds, until it’s stopped fizzing but is still emerald green. Remove each batch with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Scatter with salt and set aside.
  6. Heat the olive oil in a medium non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the potato cakes and fry for 4–5 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden. Serve the potato cakes straight away with the crispy seaweed over the top, or on the side. (This is also lovely with a fried egg on top of the potato cake.)
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