Laver and cockle pearl barley risotto

This simple dish from Mark Sargeant is a beautiful British take on an Italian classic, with a sweet taste of the sea
By Mark Sargeant
Laver and cockle pearl barley risotto
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme, leaves only
  • 350 g pearl barley
  • 1.5 litres hot chicken stock
  • knob butter
  • 6 tbsp laver
  • 100 g cooked cockles
  • 6 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley


1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium-low heat and fry the onion, garlic cloves and thyme leaves for 6-8 minutes, or until softened.

2. Add the pearl barley, stirring well to coat in the oil, and cook for 1-2 minutes.

3. Keep the stock hot in a pan set over a low heat. Add a ladleful of the stock to the pan of pearl barley and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the stock has been absorbed. Repeat until the pearl barley is tender, about 40 minutes (you may not need all of the stock). Stir in a knob of butter until melted.

4. Stir in the laver, reserving four teaspoons to garnish, then the cockles and cook for 1-2 minutes to heat through.

5. Spoon the risotto into serving bowls and sprinkle over the parsley. Make small quenelles of the remaining laver and place on top of each serving.

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