Very simple to make and tasty to eat, this recipe for marsh samphire is perfect for a warm spring or summer evening.
A brief look at samphire
This is a plant of which I'd not heard until very recently. Having never seen it for sale before, I quickly forgot about the existance of this somewhat rare plant, but upon spotting it at London's Borough Market a couple of weeks ago I quickly grabbed a few handfuls.
Marsh samphire, also known sometimes as glasswort or sea asparagus, is a plant which thrives in saline environments (a halophyte, if you're into that sort of knowledge). The cactus-like plant can be found along salty marshes and coastal areas in Britain and the USA, and is worth seeking out if you can.
Astute readers of this blog will have likely noted minimal quantities of salt in the majority of my recipes. When I prepared this marsh samphire dish, I omitted all but a small pinch of salt because samphire is naturally salty. Hence, if you cook with it, I recommend erring on the side of less salt until you first try the end result.
The recipe below prepares enough for two, but as more of a light meal than a substantial plateful. If you want to bulk it up then I suggest upping the quinoa and samphire quantities, and adding a bit more lemon and dill.
Tangy Quinoa with Samphire
- Rinse and cook quinoa as directed on packet (a general rule is twice the quantity of water to quinoa, over medium heat for about 15 minutes). While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the other ingredients and set a separate pot of water to boil for the samphire.
- Pound the garlic and lemon together in a pestle and mortar before adding dill, sweetener, and liquid smoke, if using (you could also use a smoky paprika).
- Fry the diced onion in the olive oil for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring often, until translucent. Turn the heat to low, adding the lemon paste and any salt you wish. Cook for a further minute or two, just to tone down the intensity of the fresh garlic.
- Meanwhile, add the samphire to the pot of boiling water to blanch for two minutes. Drain and add, along with the quinoa (which, may I remind you, should also be drained first) and parsley, to the onion mix. Stir until the quiona and samphire are coated with the sauce, and serve warm.
Maybe the samphire we have in Turkey is different from the UK. We add to boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes in order to make it easier to strip the fleshy part from the fibrous stalks. That said, we will try this recipe next time.
There are different types of samphires, but in this case I use marsh samphire.
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