I have heard of recipes that suggest you can cook Samphire for x minutes and then hey presto, it will be ready and delicious! This is wrong, wrong, wrong!
Worse still, I have heard recipes that say you can cook it for a specified time which is well under 5 minutes and it will be delicious – even more terrible!
My only experience of how to cook Samphire is with marsh Samphire which grows prolifically on England’s Norfolk coast. Samphire found in supermarkets in little plastic boxes and flown in from places such as Mexico are usually prepared and treated as a garnish rather than a meal.
On the Norfolk coast, Samphire is picked in abundance from the marshes and takes longer to cook as the plant matures and the season progresses. Five minutes will always be the absolute bare minimum cooking time.
Anna’s Original Cooking Recipe for Marsh Samphire
Wash the fresh samphire really thoroughly with cold water including the roots. The longer you wash the samphire the less salty it will be. You don’t really need to break up the stems into smaller bits. Never ever add any extra salt. Boil the samphire in unsalted water for between 5 and 10 minutes until the green flesh can easily be stripped from the stalk with your fingers. This is the only way that you can tell if the samphire is properly cooked. Make sure you regularly check it after 5 minutes so you don’t overcook it.
Drain off the water and serve. Samphire is traditionally served with melted butter poured over but some traditionalists prefer vinegar.
Variations include steaming it (much the same as boiling it but classier) or serving it with a wedge of lemon. Lemon can cut through the saltiness but many would say this was akin to heresy!
Go here to learn more about the origins of Samphire on the Norfolk Coast
Also take a look at my Norfolk Taramasalata Recipe