Sheila Spence: summer foraging
Marsh Samphire, or Glasswort, is a favourite summer treat, eaten raw if young, or lightly steamed, but always pick it with scissors, never pull it out of the ground as that is illegal. Growing along tidal mudflats it is easily distinguished from other leafy plants. Wild Fennel is another easily recognised plant to find now, especially but not exclusively on the coast. Chopped into salad, or just nibbled as you walk along, it imparts a great aniseed flavour. Shellfish like cockles and mussels are abundant now but be extra certain of the cleanliness of the site when there is no ‘r’ in the month. Giant Puffballs, Chanterelles, Parasols and early Penny Buns all appear during the summer months along with fruits such as cranberry, bilberry, raspberry and those tiny, but very tasty, wild strawberries.
Recipe: Eggy Samphire Dunkers
•Freshly picked Marsh Samphire – a small handful per person
•1 large egg per person
•Pepper to taste if required (ground white pepper for preference)
Lightly pick over and trim the Marsh Samphire and rinse well, either boil or steam for just a few minutes until tender. Bring a separate pan of water to the boil and cook the egg/s to your liking but they are best slightly soft and runny, then drain the samphire and serve whilst still warm.
Dunk the samphire stems in the egg just like you would ‘bread & butter soldiers’ season to taste but you probably don’t need any extra salt as the samphire is already somewhat salty. Enjoy!