What’s the best way to cook samphire at different points in the season?
Samphire, which is rich in vitamin C and trace metals, is becoming more and more popular with chefs.
In the Spring, the first delicate and crunchy samphire shoots appear. This is when they’re best raw, served plain or with a vinaigrette. Samphire’s subtle saltiness can brighten up your salads, pasta, fish dishes, or omelettes.
In the Summer, when samphire becomes slightly bitter, it’s better to blanch it for a few minutes in unsalted water to remove some of the bitterness and excess salt. After that, you can cook it like green beans, either by steaming it, boiling it in unsalted water, or sautéing it with garlic and parsley. Some people prefer to make samphire soup: it is cooked with twice its weight in potatoes, some butter and pepper. A real delicacy!
Also called sea pickle, samphire can even be used as a garnish when it’s been preserved in vinegar. It has a pleasant salty taste that goes well with terrines or fish rillettes. It can also be used to liven up mustard, mayonnaise, and vinegar.
At La Ferme des Baleines, we have wild samphire growing on the banks of our salt ponds alongside annual sea-blite and sea purslane. We harvest samphire at La Ferme des Baleines between May and September.