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Samphire - what exactly is it and how do I prepare it?

Hallie Feb 18, 2002 11:16 AM

I have come across this vegetable (I assume that's what it is) at Borough market - it looks interesting (little green bits that look like a cross between polished coral and asparagus) and I have been tempted to buy it but I havent a clue how to prepare it or what it might taste like. Any suggestions?

  1. m
    mike acton Dec 7, 2008 02:48 AM

    Hallie, by the way, m,y email is mjacton@aol.com if you could be troubled to reply.



    1. m
      mike acton Dec 7, 2008 02:46 AM

      Hi Halie,

      Samphire is wonderful to eat as is with anything, espesh fish. I used to buy it in England where it is also known as sea asperagus, and is a content of Prince Charles;s breakfast!

      Just eat it raw! it really is wonderful-just use the small stalks.

      I wonder if you have managed to buy any here-if you have I would appreciate you telling me precisely where so I( can get some too!). I lve in Farmingdale. Long Island NY 11735
      so can get into the city easily.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mike acton
        Delucacheesemonger Dec 7, 2008 04:12 AM

        First saw in this country at D&D in Soho. Known in France as salicorne, comes from salt flats in n Brittany, S Normandy. Sell primarily pickled there, but best out of hand with fleur de sel. Known there as 'sea beans'

      2. m
        magnolia Feb 19, 2002 10:06 AM

        Funny you should mention this, as yesterday's Food Programme (BBC Radio 4, rough equivalent of US NPR) was devoted to seawood in many forms & preparations. You can read about it - or even listen to it, I believe, via the link below.

        They mentioned the following as a useful website too:


        Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/progs/gen...

        1. g
          Gavin Jones Feb 19, 2002 06:17 AM

          Samphire is a marsh plant which grows near the foreshore. It(aka 'sea asparagus'- clue to treatment) is generally treated simply. i.e. trimmed, lightly blanched then tossed in butter/lemon juice. It has a fairly narrow season.
          It can be a bit stringy if old.

          1. c
            Caitlin McGrath Feb 18, 2002 01:22 PM

            I've linked below a very recent thread about samphire from the General Topics board, which might give you a little information. General food questions get a wider audience, and so probably more responses, on General Topics than on the regional boards.

            Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            2 Replies
            1. re: Caitlin McGrath
              Hallie Feb 18, 2002 02:44 PM

              Thanks Caitlin. Obviously synchronicity at work - I was unaware that others had posted about samphire so recently. It must be in season now. I'm very excited about trying it. I have just searched the web and found a crab and samphire risotto recipe that sounds fab!

              By the way, I'm a McGrath too. Where are you from?

              1. re: Hallie
                Caitlin McGrath Feb 18, 2002 05:24 PM

                Well, I'm a fourth-generation-in-the-US-McGrath, and I don't recall which Irish town my great-grandfather was from. The following generations have been somewhat itinerant, but I grew up in Northern California and presently live in New York City--nowhere near you, I'm sure. :-)

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