How to cook samphire

Samphire is a wild, sea-salty marsh grass which can make a wonderful addition to many meals. Samphire has seen a massive jump in popularity in recent years and is used in abundance across the UK. Many are using the lockdown to try this vibrant and crispy green vegetable, but how do you cook samphire?

Types of samphire

There are two types of samphire: marsh and rock.

Marsh samphire is more widely available fresh and is a succulent halophyte with vibrant green fleshy stalks.

The marsh samphire has a distinctively crisp and salty flavour.

The second type of samphire is rock samphire which has an unpleasant smell when fresh.

Traditionally rock samphire was pickled to get rid of the irksome smell.


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How to store samphire

Samphire does not have a very long shelf life and therefore it is advised to only buy what you need.

To keep it fresh for longer, you should wrap it tightly and refrigerate it for a few days if bought loose.

Typically samphire reaches its peak from May to August and is most often found near fish counters in supermarkets.

Can samphire be eaten raw?

Samphire can be eaten raw in salads.

It tends to be a salty addition to salads and must be rinsed well before eating.

Putting samphire in your salad adds texture and nutrients.

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How to cook samphire?

Samphire is similar to asparagus but samphire is considerably smaller in size than asparagus.

To cook samphire, it is essential to wash the vegetable thoroughly to remove any sand or dirt which may be attached as this can impact the taste.

Afterwards, you should remove any roots and tough stamps and break up any large pieces to ensure even cooking.

The most common means of cooking samphire is to prepare boiling water and simmer the vegetable in the water for five minutes.

Do not be tempted to add salt to the blanching water as the samphire is already salty enough and the taste can be overpowering if salt is added to the water.

Afterwards, you should drain and rinse the samphire.

If you would prefer you can also lightly steam samphire.

How to serve samphire

After steaming or boiling the samphire, it is advisable to toss the samphire with a little melted butter or olive ole for extra flavour and richness.

Samphire is also really tasty when fried in a batter as tempura.

To make this you should prepare a tempura batter by

Then dip the samphire in this batter and quickly deep fry the vegetable.

Suggested samphire dishes:

  • Salmon with braised lettuce, potatoes, samphire and king crab
  • Turbot au gratin with samphire and rhubarb compote
  • Trout with samphire and beurre blanc
  • Grilled sardines with samphire and lettuce
  • Gnocchi with parsley, butter and samphire
  • Samphire and lemony salmon linguine
  • Sea veg with duck egg on sourdough.

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