Good Eatin’ – The Other Samphire

List Item: Try as many of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die as possibleFood item: Rock Samphire
Progress: 769/1001

It’s just a few days before Christmas at the time of writing and that means it’s time for the yuletide pilgrimage to Borough Market. In a number of recent visits I have struck out trying to find something for the list, but as some sort of pre-Christmas miracle there were two things available! So, here’s the first – some rock samphire.

Since I started writing this blog, samphire has become very widely available in supermarkets and restaurants. Well, marsh samphire (also known as glasswort) has, but not rock samphire (also known as sea fennel). Despite both being called samphire, the rock and marsh varieties aren’t related. Like, at all. This, and the many different regional names that both varieties have, has made this search for rock samphire all the more difficult.

To be honest, now that I’ve grown to love marsh samphire despite a bad first impression, I still prefer the samphire I already know. Where that is a juicy salty bite, rock samphire is a pretty different character. That salt taste is there, because of it also grows near the ocean, but that is not the dominant taste. No, instead there is something very perfumey about rock samphire, which makes this taste like a slightly resinous and slightly salty parsnip. In small does it’s nice, but this something that overwhelms other things in the same salad, so it’s wise to use it sparingly.

Including the 1001 food list-based Christmas present that my husband has in the bottom of the freezer – there are five more items on the food list that are going to be crossed before I return to work in the new year. Hitting 800 is starting to feel very much achievable – even if it does mean getting to know some food importers… or paying a very early visit to a fish market.

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