May 20, 2007

Filed under: Fish, Vegetables, Weekend Herb Blogging — ros @ 6:40 pm

This has got to be the best thing to come home to after a night out. 

sea bream with potatoes and samphire

Well, it would have been if things had gone to plan.

I don’t get to go out very often any more. In fact, apart from occasional trips to the pub after seminars with my fellow mathmos, I don’t go out at all. This is why I was so excited about going to my friend’s houewarming party last night. I’d been really good friends with this girl at university but partially lost touch after she finished her degree, so I was looking forward to a big catch up.

My original plan was to stay out until 11:30 and get takeaway on the way home, but the idea of stodge actually made me feel a bit sick. So I went for what was, in my opinion, the next quickest option.

In the afternoon I headed to my local fishmongers (Cape Clear) to buy myself some nice sea bream. The people there are very helpful and they’ll pop a lemon and some parsley in the bag for you with your fish for free. It’s practically a ready meal in a bag but with nice, fresh ingredients and no artificial anything. :) All I needed to was grill the fish for a few minutes, then add the lemon and chopped parsley and perhaps boil some new potatoes. Could it be any easier? :D

While I was there I also got to sample some samphire for the first time. I really liked it so I bought a load to go with my fish dinner. After all, it would only take seconds to cook.

So I was all set up for a night out with some friends followed by coming back to a gorgeous, tasty dinner. My mistake was trying to take Goon with me. After I’d planned to leave at 7pm, Goon turned up at  7:15 and somehow then spent 40 minutes in the shower. So, by the time he was ready to go, we were over an hour late and, with the tube engineering works, we’d end up spending twice as much time travelling than we would at the party.

So no night out for me. :(

Dinner was still tasty though, and I got to try out the interesting new vegetable whilst sober, which certainly wouldn’t have happened if I went out. Another plus side is that I can submit my samphire to Kalyn’s Weekend Herb Blogging which is hosted by Rinku from Cooking in Westchester this week.

Even though samphire has been eaten in Britain for ages (hundreds of years), a remarkable number of people (well, at least amongst the students I hang out with) haven’t heard of it. For some reason it doesn’t make it’s way into the supermarkets but is sold in proper fishmongers. The plant comes in several different varieties. The one I got hold of was marsh samphire. Apparently rock samphire is sometimes also eaten pickled and is a delicacy in Lancashire and Northumbria.

I think marsh samphire is a wonderful vegetable, with a pleasant flavour, that is a bit like salty asparagus, and a crisp crunchy texture. It’s a great thing to eat alongside fish. When I tried it for the first time at the fishmongers, I had it raw, but usually it is blanched in hot water for a few seconds or steamed for a very short time to lessen its saltiness. Last night, I went for the first option, then tossed it in lemon and butter.

This whole meal literally took 15 minutes to cook, and most of that was taken up by waiting for the potatoes to boil. The fish, after its skin was rubbed with salt, had about 8 minutes under the grill. I spent two minutes incinerating some parsley to add to some melted butter for a makeshift sauce and the samphire was done in seconds.

So who needs ready meals when you’ve got fish? \o/ Well, people who don’t like fish obviously, but I’ve never really understood them anyway ;)  

11 Comments »

  1. Absolutely Ros, your choice was quick, easy and delicious - and guilt-free!

    Comment by Julia — May 20, 2007 @ 8:33 pm

  2. I also don’t understand anyone who doesn’t like fish! I can’t really believe it, but you are the second person writing about Samphire this week, and I don’t know if anyone has ever written about it before this. Maybe it has suddenly become trendy? I am even more anxious to try it now.

    Comment by Kalyn — May 20, 2007 @ 9:33 pm

  3. Roshani,

    Thanks for your entry. I think fish is one of those saving graces for quick dinner. Have not eaten Samphire, sounds like it complements fish very well.

    Rinku

    Comment by Rinku — May 21, 2007 @ 4:05 am

  4. Two samphire entries in one week. A trend! i think it is my favourite veggie (when I can get hold of it)

    Comment by Ed — May 21, 2007 @ 8:25 am

  5. Semphire was on Saturday Kitchen this week - Hardeep Singh Kohli served it up with onions and bream :)

    x

    Comment by S — May 21, 2007 @ 12:15 pm

  6. I remember my first taste of samphire while on work experience at The Providores in Marylebone. I really liked it, but for some reason I’ve never cooked with it myself. I have been on the lookout for it, but as you say it’s just not that commonly available. Oh, hard luck about the night out by the way, I’m sure you’ll get plenty more opportunities to let your hair down

    Comment by Trig — May 21, 2007 @ 2:50 pm

  7. Samphire is delicious. Where is the fishmongers you bought it from?

    Comment by Great Big Veg Challenge — May 22, 2007 @ 3:43 pm

  8. Julia, I am exceptionally good at ignoring any food related guilt I might bring on myself. ;) Although, you’re right, eating fish instead of a takeaway from time to time does make it easier.

    Kalyn and Ed, at first I thought the double whammy of samphire might have happened because it has just come into season here, but Ed lives in Melbourne so it seems unlikely that it’s just in season there too. I guess it’s just a strange coincidence we both posted it at the same time.

    Rinku, thanks for being a great host and welcome to the site. You’re right samphire does complement fish very well. I thoroughly recommend trying it if you ever get the chance.

    S, it seems everyone is cooking with samphire. I hope it doesn’t get expensive with all this attention.

    Trig, I suspect that maybe samphire has just come into season as it was nowhere a couple of weeks ago and then, last Saturday, it was everywhere. If you try looking in a few fishmongers over the next few weeks you’ll probably find some.

    Charlotte, it is on Shepherds Bush Road, just opposite where the big Tesco is. The address is on their website here.
    http://capeclearfishshop.com/default.aspx

    Comment by ros — May 22, 2007 @ 5:15 pm

  9. Ros, Samphire I think comes into season here in March/April. Usually we are the opposite and I have no idea what’s happening.

    Comment by Ed — May 24, 2007 @ 11:55 pm

  10. Hi Ros
    I’d never tried samphire before but was out walking at the weekend, looked down and realised there was samphire growing everywhere, so picked loads and when I got home steamed it and then tossed it in butter & ate it with lamb - it was delicious. So I will be picking more - I have a great recipe for samphire risotto with crab . . .

    Comment by Nicky Linzey — June 18, 2007 @ 10:30 am

  11. Just discovered Samphire on fishmongers stall at market. Tried it raw then had it steamed with smoked mackerel and home-made sundried tomato bread - beautiful!!

    Comment by Paul — August 18, 2007 @ 12:29 pm

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