aka, My Suffolk Salad!
This is absolutely my kind of eating, and vegcentirc food at its best! I made it recently for my family in Suffolk, and it is as seasonal and local as can be. It requires a little love and attention in preparation, especially if foraging for the samphire yourself, but I like that too. Sometimes food that needs a little time is a wonderful thing.
Inspiration here comes, I suppose, from a classic Nicoise salad. It’s hearty and satisfying thanks to the new potatoes and boiled eggs, and unspeakably delicious thanks to the slight saltiness of the samphire contrasting with the deep sweetness of the slow roasted tomatoes and spring onions; it’s all cut through with a dash of top quality white wine vinegar, and because we’re in Suffolk, it had to be Aspall’s!
This recipe serves 4 people.
approximately 350g new potatoes
4 organic, free-range eggs
3 generous handfuls of samphire
1 or 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin rapeseed oil
freshly ground black pepper
for the tomatoes:
200g cherry tomatoes
8 spring onions
1 tablespoon of extra-virgin rapeseed oil
1 teaspoon of sugar
12 sprigs of thyme
salt and peper
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
Halve the cherry tomatoes across their middles, and chop the spring onions. In a mixing bowl combine these with a tablespoon of rapeseed oil, some salt and pepper, the teaspoon of sugar, and lots of fresh thyme leaves, stripped from their stalks.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and tip the tomato mix onto the tray. Make sure that the cut side of each tomato faces upward.
Roast gently in the pre-heated oven for 32 minutes.
Meanwhile, halve the new potatoes, put in a large pot of salted water, and bring to a gentle boil. These will take approximately 20 minutes to cook, but of course this will depend on their size.
To keep things easy, I like to cook the eggs in the same pot, so when you think the potatoes are about 7-8 minutes from being soft all the way through, add the eggs to the simmering water.
Drain together, and allow the steam to billow off.
Always looking to minimize washing up, I use the same pot for the samphire. Refill it with a generous amount of water, but no salt, and bring to a rapid boil.
Rinse the samphire of any silt, and pick away the woodier base of each stalk, especially the larger ones. You’ll easily feel where the stem thins, without the tough central core.
Keeping the heat as high as possible, plunge the samphire into the pot, and cook for 90 seconds, before immediately draining. (There’s no need to shock the samphire here, as in the previous recipe, as this salad is lovely enjoyed warm, or coming to room temperature. If you are making it in advance however, do shock the samphire in iced water.)
Peel the eggs, and cut in half. Peeling under a gentle stream of running water makes this a lot easier!
Toss together the samphire and the potatoes, dressing lightly with a tablespoon or two or white wine vinegar, two tablespoons of rapeseed oil, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Layer the salad on a large serving dish, reserving a few of the eggs, tomatoes and spring onions for the top. When adding the tomatoes, make sure to scrape the greaseproof paper very well with a rubber spatula, as there is spectacular flavour in the residual oil and roasted tomato juice, and this is intended to form a dressing of sorts, on the salad.