Success with Sea Vegetables – Getting to know Samphire

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 8th May 2014
Ever eaten or cooked samphire? It has a taste that’s similar to the new season’s baby asparagus, but its distinctive crisp and salty tones elevate it to an all new experience. You can get hold of samphire from reputable fishmongers, delicatessens and specialist greengrocers. There are two varieties, rock samphire and marsh samphire – the latter is more widely available. However, if you’re lucky enough to live near certain river estuaries or the coast, it’s something that can be picked at low tide. Samphire Those who know their Shakespeare will have come across this hardy vegetable in King Lear: “Half-way down hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade!” Edgar from The Bard’s tragedy was probably referring to rock samphire.The vegetable is also known as sea fennel, St Peter’s herb (St Peter being the patron saint of fishermen) and glasswort. As Edgar warns it’s best to keep clear of the stuff growing on cliffs and steer yourself to the marshland variety if you’re planning a forage. Once you have a decent amount of samphire, you don’t need to do an awful lot to it to reap the benefits. Simply steamed or boiled it’s delicious  with a knob of butter or some good virgin olive oil. Don’t be tempted to add salt as it’s naturally “seasoned” and has a high natural salt value. Simon Hulstone -Squid-Burger   It’s no surprise that many of our finest chefs choose to serve this sea vegetable with a variety of fish and seafood dishes. Simon Hulstone of The Elephant Torquay serves an alternative burger made from squid and mackerel. The dish is topped with a generous helping of samphire for colour, taste and texture.  Counter the saltiness with sweet potato chips and you’ve a burger to satisfy all fish fans.     Nathan Outlaw -Cider-Cured-Sea-Trout Nathan Outlaw’s sea trout looks a picture served on a bed of samphire. The centrepiece, of sea trout cured in apple cider, is remarkably easy. His recipe shows you how to produce fresh crab stock and make a mayonnaise from brown crab.     Dominic Chapman - Crab Ravioli     Dominic Chapman’s pasta dish also features a sublime mix of crab and samphire. Particularly delicious in spring and summer months, the samphire tops his Crab Ravioli with chervil leaves, fleur de sel and extra virgin olive oil.   Graham Campbell - Cod-Jersey Royals-Samphire-Lemon   Finally, Graham Campbell’s recipe mingles the seaside flavours of samphire with cod. Pan roast cod and confit Jersey Royals form the perfect foil for pancetta in this showstopper of a main course.   For more samphire dishes from some of Britain’s leading chefs, head over to Great British Chefs samphire recipe collection. Check out samphire recipes on The Staff Canteen wall. Just type 'samphire' into the search bar.       Mecca-Ibrahim   Mecca is Head of Social Media at Great British ChefsAt work she is known for her chocolate desserts and boundless enthusiasm for social media. She has spent the last 10 years in community management and online marketing at some of the biggest and most innovative internet businesses out there (Yahoo, Justgiving, moo.com and Joost).  She also hosts an annual food blogging competition called Nom Nom Nom.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 8th May 2014

Success with Sea Vegetables – Getting to know Samphire