Samphire the asparagus of the marshes, is a wonderful accompaniment with seafood with it’s crunchy salty taste. I’m also lucky enough to know where some grows, it is a comfortable drive and a healthy walk away, but it is well worth the bother. It is best stir fried in a little olive oil for a minute or so and add a squirt of lemon juice. It does freeze very well after blanching for a minute and you can also pickle it.
I reached my normal picking spot to discover that it was all under 8 inches of weed blown up during the overnight storm, luckily it is a bay and found more growing in the sheltered corner. The samphire was still only small shoots and needs another week or so to develop, but I couldn’t resist cutting a small bunch to go with my scallops. Please remember to cut off each stalk separately to allow the plant to recover and don’t completely strip a plant, just take what you need, a little samphire goes a long way.
Dorset is blessed with some of the tastiest scallops in the country, they need to be hand dived and even better if you freedive for them yourself. Along with your foraged samphire, served with wonderful Dorset Pancetta and a creamy sauce – heaven!
8 good sized scallops, cleaned and halved
200g pancetta cut into lardons
1 finely chopped shallot
30g button mushrooms, finely chopped
200ml dry white wine
150ml chicken stock
150ml double cream
1 tablespoon finely diced parsely
Cornish sea salt & ground white pepper
To make the sauce:
Melt 10g of butter in a saucepan and add shallots, sweat them for 1 minute without colouring them
Add mushrooms and cook gentle for another 2 minutes
Pour in wine and reduce by one-third
Add chicken stock and reduce by half
Pour in the cream and reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.
Pour through a sieve to remove the onion & mushrooms
Whisk in the remaining butter and season to taste
Add the parsley when you serve
Put the samphire into a hot frying pan and add a dash of olive oil and cook for 1 minute, remove from the heat and add a squirt of lemon juice.
Pancetta & Scallops
Fry the pancetta in a hot frying pan until golden brown and then add the scallops turning after 45-60 seconds. Make sure the scallops are nicely brown.
Split the samphire into 4 scallops shells or gratin dishes, place the scallops & pancetta on top and pour the sauce over this. Garnish with a sprig of parsley and serve with a slice of bread from Windsbatch Bakery.