Have you ever tried Samphire, or as we call in Turkey, deniz borulcesi? Samphire is in season at the moment and I was delighted to find this delicious sea vegetable at my local market, what a treat. Marsh Samphire, deniz borulcesi, is a succulent plant of the salicornia species, not a seaweed and it is a popular mezze ingredient in the Aegean & Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Samphire is also a fashionable sea vegetable in the UK at the moment; it has a short season (July to August) so make the most of it if you can. A reader kindly also informed me that samphire is called sea bean in the West Coast, US – and that makes perfect sense-. It pairs any grilled fish beautifully and samphire’s crisp texture and naturally salty, succulent taste is the taste of summer at the Aegean for me. Just one bite and I feel the sea breeze, the turquoise Aegean calling for me straight away..
Once described as the poor man’s asparagus, the mash samphire is not only delicious but very nutritious too. It is rich in vitamins A, B2, B15, C,D, amino acids and more. Some supermarkets, like Waitrose in England also carry samphire next to the fish counter, so worth checking out. Samphire is also delicious especially with egg, broad beans, for a vegetarian option.
I prepared the samphire, deniz borulcesi, in a simple dressing of extra virgin olive oil, garlic and lemon juice, like it is prepared in Turkey for a mezze spread; this dressing complemented the samphire beautifully next to our baked salmon with cherry tomatoes, olives and anchovies. Avoid using salt, as there is plenty natural salt here through anchovies and the samphire or sea beans. A very easy and delicious recipe, l hope you enjoy it too.
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes
4 salmon fillets
16-18 cherry tomatoes, halved
30ml/2 tablespoons olives, pitted and halved
3 small fillets of anchovies in olive oil (from the tin); drained
30ml/2 tablespoons olive oil
Ground black pepper to taste
Wedges of lemon to serve
For samphire (or sea beans or deniz borulcesi) & the dressing:
350g/12 oz. fresh samphire (deniz börülcesi)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
30ml/ 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
Grease the baking tray with the olive oil and place the salmon fillets on it. Spread the cherry tomatoes, olives and the anchovy fillets over and around the salmon fillets. Season with ground black pepper. Place the tray in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes (please refer to cooking instructions at the packaging as cooking time may vary with the size or type of the fish), until the fish is cooked and the tomatoes starting to turn crisp at the edges.
Samphire with olive oil, garlic and lemon juice
While the salmon is in the oven, prepare the samphire. Trim to remove the tough woody parts of the lower stalks and give it a light wash to remove any grit. Steam the samphire over a pan of boiling water for a few minutes. Cool the samphire in iced water and set aside in a serving bowl.
Combine the olive oil, chopped garlic and the lemon juice in a bowl and drizzle this sauce over the samphire or deniz borulcesi, mix well.
All Travellers; Turkey is Open for Tourism – Let’s Hear from the Residents
I have been getting questions from folks planned or planning to go to Turkey, as we all witness and applaud the rise for humanity and hope for the best for this beautiful land and its kind hearted, brave citizens.
I have lived and travelled extensively in my homeland, Turkey over 30 years. Even though I live in England now. I go back often and look forward to visiting home at every opportunity; this is the land that I love. My parents, my sister and family, my friends live in Istanbul and different parts of Turkey. The life goes as normal, as every day the children go to school, folks go to their work, my dad goes to his favorite Sali Pazari, Tuesday market, to the bank and more.
This is the same with travels in Turkey too; my friends already tasted the blue turquoise sea (lucky them!) in Gocek, Bodrum, Ayvalik, Fethiye and my parents are going to their time share home in Bodrum next week; life carries on as normal there too.
Please also check out some amazing blogs on life and travels in Turkey, to get the first hand information. Turkey’s For Life , Turkish Travel Blog, Archers of Okcular, Back to Bodrum; all these wonderful blogs are residents in Turkey and reflect the life in these coastal resorts, popular holiday spots in Turkey from a local’s perspective and they all say the same thing; Turkey is Open for Tourism and look forward to having you! Please also check another great blog, Earth Laughs in Flowers for tips on holidays in Turkey and feel free to browse through their and Ozlem’s Turkish Table facebook page; where many fellow travelers kindly shared their recent positive holiday experiences in Turkey, so wonderful to hear.
For Istanbul; I also consulted my tour guide friend and he said all is normal in Old Istanbul and the rest of the city except the Taksim area, where the main protest is and some parts of Besiktas and Dolmabahce district and it is advised to avoid all the demonstrations.
Istanbul Culinary Backstreet (also resident in Istanbul) says that “Our daily walks continue in full spirit and we invite all of you to come visit Istanbul and help us safeguard the city’s soul, one bite at a time”. Do also please check out the resident and delicious blog A Seasonal Cook in Turkey for inspirations for a foodie feast in Istanbul; the owner of this wonderful blog, dear Claudia also does culinary walks in Istanbul. She actually did another culinary walk in Istanbul this past Saturday and says, “We had a culinary walk with 7 delightful Americans yesterday in Eminonu, it was all just fine.”
As always wherever in the world you would go, please keep yourself up to date with the latest travel advice from the foreign office prior your travels. I wanted to share the latest information with you as I hear and I do hope it helps. Turkey offers one of the finest holiday experiences with its breathtaking coastline, amazing historical sites, friendly, hospitable people and the delicious Turkish cuisine; I truly hope you make it there and enjoy your time.
Best wishes for happy travels – and please have a glass of Cay, Turkish tea and that Simit, Sesame encrusted bread rings, for me!