SALTY SENSATIONS

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Forward-looking chefs are always on the look out for new and exciting ingredients to liven up their menus and sea vegetables are slowly becoming the next big thing. They are also a great idea if you need to introduce a salty sensation on the plate and impress your guests.


My favourite is Samphire, sometimes known as poor man's asparagus or sea asparagus. In Spain it is known as “salicornia” and grows abundantly on the shorelines of northern Europe. I have fond memories of spending long days picking samphire on the east coast of England as a child. It has a crisp texture and tastes of the sea. It is particularly useful for vegetarians and vegans who want that seafood taste without the animal ingredients. It works really well all types of fish, eggs and roast lamb or chicken. It also makes the most wonderful risotto!


SMOKED SALMON & SAMPHIRE OMELETTE

Ingredients Serves 1

40g samphire, washed & trimmed
40g smoked salmon, chopped
3 eggs freshly grated nutmeg, optional
1 tbsp crème fraîche
1 tsp olive oil
1tsp butter

Bring a pan water to the boil and cook the samphire for 2 minutes and drain.

Gently beat the eggs together in a mixing bowl and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat the butter in an omelette pan until foaming. Pour in the beaten eggs and cook for a few seconds, until the bottom of the omelette is lightly set. Push the set parts of the omelette into the uncooked centre of the omelette. Cook again, until the omelette has set further, then push the set parts into the centre of the omelette again. Place two-thirds of the smoked salmon and samhhire into the centre of the omelette and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and tilt the pan slightly to move the omelette to the edge of the pan. Slide the omelette onto a serving plate, and then shape it into a neat roll. Brush the omelette with olive oil, sprinkle with the remaining salmon and samphire. Serve immediately.

GRILLED MACKEREL WITH LEMON SAMPHIRE
& CHERRY TOMATO-CAPER SALSA


Ingredients         serves 4

4 Spanish mackerel
300g Samphire, washed & trimmed
Lemon wedges for serving

Cherry tomato-caper salsa
3tbs olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
300g cherry tomatoes, halved
3tbsp capers
Juice of one lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring a pan water to the boil and cook the samphire for 2 minutes and drain.

In a bowl, toss the cherry tomatoes, capers and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.
Score the mackerel on both sides at 2cm intervals almost down to the bone.
Brush them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over a high heat for 6-7 minutes, turning once, until lightly charred and cooked through. Transfer the fish to plates with the samphire and top with the salsa. Serve with lemon wedges.

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