Seasonal Ingredient of the Week: Samphire

One of the only vegetables that can be the deciding factor when at a restaurant, samphire is such a treat, and a somewhat unknown one too. For those who know, the simple utterance of 'samphire' will have them racing to dinner, with it's naturally salty taste and slightly crisp bite, it's the perfect addition to sun, summer, fish dishes and white wine (yes the good weather this week has got us dreaming). 

It's currently in season in the UK (grown on rocks and cliffs by the sea) and is occasionally available in supermarkets, but is much more easy to find at local grocery stores and farmer's markets. It also needs to be used quite quickly, so it's easier to buy it as and when you need it to keep if fresh and at it's best. 

HEALTH BENEFITS 

Samphire has been dubbed the newest edition to the growing list of 'superfoods', and it's clear why:

- It is rich in vitamins A, B and C
- It is a source of folic acid
- It can improve mood, alertness, concentration and visual clarity
- It aids digestion, cleanses the liver, eases kidney complaints, improves muscle function and relieves flatulance, to name just a few. 

RECIPE IDEAS 

- Samphire was made to go with fish, particularly white fish and seafood. For light spring dishes, try a spring salad of samphire, garden peas and watercress, topped with grilled cod and a zesty lemon dressing. 

- It can also be used in warm fish dishes. Try samphire sautéed with garlic served with hot jersey royal potatoes, seat trout and capers.  

- It's also great raw in a salad - the salty taste adds something new to any salad - and it works particularly well as a counterbalance to sweet figs or pear.