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!
Scallops, Samphire and Panchetta
- 8 good sized scallops, cleaned and halved
- 200g samphire
- 200g pancetta cut into lardons
- Olive oil
- 25g butter
- 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
- Step 1 Melt 10g of butter in a saucepan and add shallots, sweat them for 1 minute without colouring them.
- Step 2 Add mushrooms and cook gentle for another 2 minutes.
- Step 3 Pour in wine and reduce by one-third.
- Step 4 Add chicken stock and reduce by half.
- Step 5 Pour in the cream and reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.
- Step 6 Pour through a sieve to remove the onion & mushrooms.
- Step 7 Whisk in the remaining butter and season to taste.
- Step 8 Add the parsley when you serve.
- Step 9 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.
- Step 10 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.
- Step 11 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.