This is barely a recipe… more a suggestion of a simple dressing to try with some foraged samphire, should you come across any on a coastal walk this Summer! Samphire carpets the muddy banks of the Blythe Estury in Suffolk; my father and I took his old skiff out along the beach and up the harbor for a little forage... The following three recipes are what we ate with the bounty.
Serve this salad as part of a large selection of dishes, or underneath some grilled, local fish, with boiled new potatoes.
This recipe serves four people.
4 generous handfuls of samphire, sea lettuce, and/or watercress
4 spring onions
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
2 tablespoons of argan oil (or light sesame oil)
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
juice & zest of half an orange
Firstly, rinse and drain the samphire, maybe a couple of times if it’s extra muddy or covered in silt. Pick away the woodier base of each stalk if needs be. You’ll easily feel where the stem thins, without the tough central core.
Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil, and have a bowl of iced water nearby (failing that, have a colander ready under the cold tap).
Keeping the heat as high as possible, plunge the samphire into the pot, and cook for 90 seconds.
Drain and shock in the iced water, or keep under a running cold tap. This will stop the cooking process, preventing it becoming too soft, and preserve its freshness and vibrancy.
Drain well, perhaps spreading it out on a few sheets of kitchen roll while you prepare the dressing.
If combining the samphire with foraged sea lettuce (you’ll often find them nearby one another), rinse this well too, tear into smaller pieces, and pat dry. If using alongside some watercress, pick away any woodier stalks.
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes, keeping them moving all the while. Mix these with the other dressing ingredients.
Toss the salad well, tip into your serving bowl of choice, and scatter over some chopped spring onions, as well as little extra orange zest if you like. The sweet perfume of orange works very well with the natural saltiness of the seaweed, as does the beautiful toasty flavour of precious argan oil. A special little combination!