That’s Bloody Brilliant: Samphire // Sea Beans Recipe

Samphire is a crisp, salty summer vegetable that grows at the edges of marshland in England and on both coasts of the United States (among numerous other places I could have run into it in the past, but didn’t). The minute I saw it on the shelf, I knew it was something special. This simple recipe lets it shine.

Tip

Just to totally confuse matters, marsh samphire (which we've got here) is not the same as rock samphire, a different plant entirely.)

Head over heels for a marsh vegetable

The minute I saw samphire on the shelf, I knew it was something special. I knew we would have a moment, samphire and me. I knew that samphire by any other name would taste as salty. (And it’s a darn good thing, too, because samphire has a string of aliases. Salicornia, sea beans, saltwort and glasswort, to name just a few. 

It is so like me to fall head over heels for a marsh vegetable.

How to find and cook samphire

In late summer, if you’re lucky, you may be able to find samphire at your local fish market or farmers’ market — or, in the U.K., even at your local grocery store if you pick one that’s a little on the funky and bi-curious side.  And if you’re the adventurous type, you can pick it right out of the marshlands or grow it in your garden. Samphire is quite salty, so don’t add extra salt. (And that’s coming from someone who used to dream of having a deer-style salt lick in her room as a kid.) Once it’s home, eat it within a day or two if you can, cooked just fleetingly, as in the recipe below.

Simple Samphire (Sea Beans)

Samphire pairs well with fish and shellfish, and also with eggs.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 6 minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces (about 150 grams) marsh samphire
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Bring about two inches of unsalted water to a boil in a medium pot.
  2. Rinse the samphire well and add it to the boiling water for one minute.
  3. Drain into a colander. (If you want the samphire to retain a bright green color and slightly crisper texture, you can shock it in a bowl of ice water and drain again.)
  4. Toss with the butter and serve.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 70 Total Fat:: 6g Carbohydrates:: 2g Fiber:: 0.5g Protein:: 2g