Ollie's thoughts on Samphire

Samphire

Samphire has been solely used in restaurants rather than the domestic arena until very recently. Originally named after Saint Peter, the saint for fisherman, samphire is a succulent that grows by the coast. Ironically as a trainee chef working in Spain many years ago, I visited somewhere inland from Alicante where variants of it grew in the sand almost like cacti. 

It is delicious, easy to prepare and quick to cook. Just snap off the fibrous bases where they snap naturally, then blanch in rapidly boiling water for about 30 secs. Given they have a natural salinity, there is no need to add salt to the water. They are nicest tender rather than too al dente. Toss in some unsalted butter or olive oil after cooking. Do use them quickly as they don’t have a long shelf-life. 

Samphire is best employed in any fish dishes where there is a good amount of sauce, as it can be coated in the sauce in a manner not dissimilar to some pasta shapes, yet the juicy salinity offsets the creaminess of the sauce. It is also fantastic with grilled lamb, perhaps with some cherry tomatoes, cucumber, feta and parsley.


Ollie


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