Aspall Cyder Hedgerow Recipes - Samphire
The history of these common species is a tale of two contrasting culinary reputations. Marsh Samphire (Salicornia spp.) basks in glory as the doyen of coastal forage plants; while Sea Purslane (Atriplex portulacoides) skulks in relative obscurity passed over for its more illustrious cousin.
Indeed cousins they are, both are members of the Goosefoot family although you would scarcely believe it to look at them. Yet it is Marsh Samphire (also known as Glasswort) that receives the accolade of being the go-to coastal vegetable. Maybe this is because Sea Purslane requires a bit more preparation and is slightly less easy to identify. More likely it lies in the exotic nature of samphire together with its tactile appeal; more like eating a crustacean than a vegetable. However Sea Purslane in its own way is just as tasty and often much more easily gathered. Do your bit to redress the balance and make the most of both of theses coastal delicacies in one recipe. You could even go one stage further and omit the Marsh Samphire completely (replace with more Sea purslane).
Jon Tyler Wild for Woods
Sea Purslane & Marsh samphire
WHAT YOU NEED
Pickled Sea leaves
100g Sea purslane
100g Marsh Samphire tips (without the stalk)
400ml Aspall White wine vinegar
3 Celery stalk tops (the leafy bits)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds 3 Cloves
Finely chop the celery stalks and the leafy bits but keep them separate once prepared.
Boil the Sea purslane for 5 minutes adding the Samphire tips for the last minute then drain thoroughly and mix in the chopped celery leaves divide equally into 2 sterilised (300ml) jars.
Crunch up the peppercorns and the cumin seeds in a pestle & mortar, just enough to release their aroma's.
Place all the spices, the chopped celery stalks and the vinegar into a saucepan and bring to a light simmer for 5 minutes.
Spoon out the celery and spices into the two jars then top up each jar with the rest of the hot vinegar, then screw on the lids to seal.
Keep for 3 weeks to allow the pickles to mature and the vinegar to mellow.
Eat with cheese and bread, as part of a ploughman’s lunch with sushi or with smoked eel and pumpernickel.