What do I do with… Samphire

Like vibrant green baby eels with knobbly bits (but way prettier) marsh samphire, aka glasswort, is in season May, June, July and August.

It has a wonderful crunch, it tastes of the sea (but much nicer, obviously) and has numerous uses, from raw in salads, to blanched and tossed in butter as a side dish, to a partner for pasta.

It’s sold in fishmongers and often served with fish, which leads people to assume it’s a seaweed, which it’s, but it does grow in tidal zones on muddy, sandy flats. Shop-bought is usually ready-trimmed, but if you’re a true hipster and harvest your own, snap off the woody ends and wash thoroughly to remove sand and grit.

Fish supper: Drop a handful of samphire per person into a large pan of boiling salted water and blanch for about 3 mins. Drain, toss in black pepper, butter and extra virgin olive oil. Serve with lemon and a hunk of seared cod or haddock with crispy skin.

Perfect pasta: Toss freshly blanched samphire and fresh cooked spaghetti in a hot pan with butter, olive oil, black pepper and pieces of smoked salmon, then serve with lemon wedges.

Quirky quiche: Fill a 23cm pastry case with 250g-300g sautéed sliced mushrooms and 100g lightly sautéed samphire, pour over 3 eggs beaten with 250ml double cream, season with ground black pepper and bake at 160C/Gas 3 for 20-30 mins until set.

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