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.
I am passionate about my homeland’s delicious, healthy Turkish cuisine, packed with seasonal produce and wholesome ingredients and recipes like this one. My cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, includes over 90 authentic Turkish recipes, with stunning photography and my personal stories, if you’d like to get a signed copy, you can order at this link, it is delivered worldwide, promptly.
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.