Samphire and New Potato Salad

Potato and Samphire Salad

When I was growing up the word ‘potato’ came across as a call to action; fry, chip or mash – we must do something! New potatoes aren’t, and never will be, in vogue with five year olds, but as we get older, a little wiser and a great deal fatter, their brilliance reveals itself. When boiled until just the right moment the new potato, whatever the variety chosen, possesses a pleasantly substantial texture and subtle, somewhat nutty flavour that lends itself perfectly and inimitably to the creation of “salads”.

Of the varieties I have consumed, the Jersey Royal is by far my favourite new potato. With the same Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) as champagne or Cornish pasties, the Jersey Royal is grown only on Jersey, a British territory off the north cost of France. They have been cultivated on the island for over 130 years using seaweed (Vraic) harvested from the beaches of Jersey as a natural fertiliser. Happily, peak Jersey Royal season – May – will soon be upon us, so you can expect one or two more new potato treats in the coming weeks.

Truly fantastic produce is always best served alongside ingredients that share some of its characteristics or origins. New potatoes and samphire may not, on the surface, seem like they are cut from the same cloth, but when you consider the Jersey Royal you can see that they both in some way benefit from the sea. Marsh samphire, or glasswort, is a wonderful, salty ingredient which grows in many places, primarily along the coasts of Europe. If you live in a coastal location you’re likely not too far from a bush or two of samphire, which makes it easily forageable (and therefore frugal). In truth, the characteristics of samphire may be rather different from those of new potatoes, but they marry together very well indeed, with the former adding a touch of salty freshness to the earthiness of the latter.

Potato and Samphire Salad

It’s likely that many of you will struggle to get your gastronomic digits on Jersey Royals. Of course, this doesn’t really matter as any new potato will work well. Simply choose your favourite and away you go – it’s difficult to go wrong with this wonderful potato salad. There is, of course, no mayonnaise in sight.

If you’re after another early-spring recipe, why not check out my Radish, Watercress and Potato Salad?

Samphire and New Potato Salad

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

• 400g new potatoes, halved

• Two handfuls of samphire

• 1 rasher of smoked bacon, finely sliced (optional)

• Juice of 1 lemon

• 3 tbsp olive oil

• Salt

• Pepper

Method:

1. Pop your halved potatoes in a small pan, top up with water and boil with the lid on until tender, but not falling apart. Once cooked through, run briefly under a col tap and set aside.

2. Crisp your bacon up in a pan with a drizzle of very hot oil, tip out onto kitchen paper. Mix together the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Transfer everything to a salad bowl, add the samphire and mix thoroughly before serving.

Potato and Samphire Salad

Cost: Though a little more expensive than regular spuds, new potatoes and a relatively cheap vegetable at around £1 per kilo. Samphire is also fairly inexpensive, particularly if foraged. As such, this wonderful “salad” should set you back no more than £1.50.

 

106 thoughts on “Samphire and New Potato Salad

  1. beingmeyear

    Not often you see a recipe for samphire or ‘sampy’ as they call it round here – it grows wild on the salt marshes near us and there’s always a few people out gathering it each spring. Sounds like a nice salad, may give it a go myself this year!

  2. narf77

    Looks lovely BUT the only samphire I have been able to find…Earl got to first :( even after a wash, a scrub, a sterilise, I am disinclined to eat that samphire ;)

  3. Megan

    Thanks for educating me on a new thing, too! I’ve never heard of Samphire either. I live in San Diego, so I’m not sure if I will be able to find it, but I will keep an eye out for it especially when traveling! Thanks!!

  4. andreamynard

    Looks wonderful, great idea pairing new potatoes with samphire. I once waded through mud to find samphire on saltmarshes in the lovely Gower peninsula in Wales but it may be a tad easier to head to a fishmongers to try this recipe!

  5. Conor Bofin

    Great stuff Nick. I cooked some samphire in a parcel with cod (post following). I love it. We spent some time in the south of France near Narbonne. There are huge salt marshes near there and samphire is everywhere. The idea of matching with the potatoes is excellent.

  6. myjourneythrume

    This is a lovely trip down memory lane for me. When I was a kid and we used to go and stay with my dear Nan and Grandad, we would often have samphire. They lived in Norfolk, a big samphire growing area. Nan would soak it in pickling vinegar. I loved it.i haven’t had it in years. Thank you for a great recipe which is a great reminder of happy memories for me. I’m definitely going to buy new potatoes on my next grocery trip and some samphire and make your recipe. Thanks :-)

  7. Velva

    I can totally relate to the quality and taste of a new potato. Delicious!
    I have never seen samphire. I will need to keep my eyes and ears open to locate these delicate greens.

    Velva

  8. Juls

    I have a mental amount of samphire right now and am pretty much to the dregs of fresh ideas so you can guarantee this is on this weekend.
    I think when I did a samphire recipe on my old blog, we discovered that, due to it being such an English/French thing, it’s hard to find in the USA and when a reader did track it down it was called ‘sea asparagus’ . . . I don’t know the truth of this, but it may help any Americans who can’t find samphire!

  9. emmycooks

    What a genius combination! Potatoes always benefit from a little brine and here in the Pacific Northwest it is indeed easy (or at least possible) to find sea asparagus. Can’t wait to try this.

  10. zoealexis

    I love the notion that potatoes are typically a call to action, it’s so true! I think you’re also right to say that we ought to get back to appreciating a thing for what it is, and pair it masterfully with other things that bring out its great qualities.

  11. Jacqueline Raposo

    “Rasher of smoke bacon” and “samphire”. Do we even speak the same LANGUAGE FF? This looks delicious – I’m making some new potatoes for brunch tomorrow and wish I had some of this samphire stuff to trade for the chives I’m using. This looks beautiful.

  12. Susan

    I love samphire, and I agree it’s lovely with Jersey Royals. In the US they don’t have samphire per se, but they can get something similar called “sea beans.”

  13. Sho'Nuff

    Can’t get samphire where I am… but I bet fiddleheads would work?? FWIW: I was a kid who ate new potatoes sliced thin, raw, more or less straight out of the ground.

      1. Sho'Nuff

        Oh! Fiddleheads are the tips of certain wild ferns, just as they come up from the earth. An asparagus is something “like” a domesticated fiddlehead. You cans sometimes find them in upscale markets for absurd amounts of money… but you can harvest them yourself for free if you know what you’re looking for.

        They serve them quite a lot in Japanese cuisine…

  14. sweetveg

    Yay! It was so fun to look at your site and see a recipe with sea beans (yes, yet another name for them!).They are so yummy and salty and go so well with potatoes. Frugal, too, if you live on the coast and know where to pick them. Way to go!!

  15. Kim Bultman

    The simplicity of this dish is very appealing. Not drowned in heavy dressing. Just “potato” salad. Love it! I’d have to substitute something for the samphire, though… maybe young asparagus spears? This salad makes me want to go on a picnic.

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  17. Willow

    I’m not a fan of the classic bucket-of-mayonnaise potato salad, but something light and simple like this sounds delicious! I’ve never had, nor even heard of, samphire, though. Perhaps a trip to England would be required to find some.

  18. Somer

    You lost me somewhere in the potato discussion, but I’m happy to be introduced to Samphire, I’ve never seen or heard of it before. I like that you haven’t used mayo in the salad :)

  19. sybaritica

    I don’t think samphire exists on the western side of the Atlantic, but I don’t ever recall seeing when I lived in Britain either. I’d love to give it a try!

  20. gillbla

    Having spent a year in Norwich, I am well and truly converted to the wonders of samphire. Sadly, whilst it’s cheap as anything in Norfolk, it gets sold as a premium “foodie” item elsewhere. I have to ration myself. This looks like a brilliant way to let it shine. Thanks for visiting my blog by the way.

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