Your Guide To Cooking With Samphire

·2-min read
Photo credit: DronG - Getty Images
Photo credit: DronG - Getty Images

Crisp, green and succulent, samphire is a salty plant that grows wild along marshy areas of the coast. Some reckon its unusual sea-salty flavour is closest in texture to baby asparagus combined with the briny quality of capers or olives. In season from May to August, samphire is a time-limited treat that pops up in supermarkets or fishmongers over the summer.

How to prep samphire

Prepare samphire in similar ways to other greens, like asparagus, tenderstem broccoli or fine beans, by first washing in cold water to remove any sand and dirt on the surface. Break big pieces into smaller strands and snip off tough bits of fibrous stem or root, which can be unpleasant to eat.

The young and tender buds of raw samphire lend fresh salads a distinctive salty note. Add them to anything from filling chickpea bowls and creamy warm potato salads to oniony Greek-style feta salads and fresh pea medleys. But whatever you do, it’s imperative to taste your batch of samphire first to check it isn’t too salty before using it raw. Remedy overly-salty samphire by blanching it for a couple of minutes or soaking it in cold water to allow the saltiness to leech out.

How to boil or steam samphire

Blanch your samphire in unsalted boiling water for three to five minutes or steam it until just tender. Serve it with a knob of butter for a quick side dish or dress it simply with olive oil to showcase its natural flavour. Lemon and garlic make for two scrumptious samphire flavour combos too.

How to stir fry samphire

Toss samphire into your favourite stir fry recipe a couple of minutes before the end of the normal cooking time so it cooks through but still has some bite to it. You may need to adjust the amount of salt you use (or switch to a low sodium soy sauce) to allow for the natural saltiness already present in the samphire.

Photo credit: Luzzitelli Danieli & Associati s.a.s. - Getty Images
Photo credit: Luzzitelli Danieli & Associati s.a.s. - Getty Images

How to deep fry samphire in a batter

Make moreish salty and savoury tempura by dipping pieces of samphire into a batter made with flour and carbonated water before deep frying. Switch the plain flour for gram flour and a sprinkling of spices to make gluten-free samphire pakoras.

How to add samphire to pasta

Blanch your samphire along with your boiling pasta when it’s about three minutes shy of being al dente so you have one less dish to wash up! Toss your drained pasta and samphire, along with a little of the starchy cooking water, into your pan of prepared sauce so it can finish cooking while soaking up all the flavours of whatever you’ve rustled up. Samphire pairs beautifully with seafood pastas featuring prawns, langoustine and fish to mussels and clams. But it’s equally as yummy served alongside a drippy poached egg, seasoned avocados and grilled tomatoes.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting