Up Your Side Dish Game With This Rare Sea Veggie

Photo by Martin Poole

The Aegean coast of Turkey is stunning: rugged rocky outcrops; long, white sandy beaches; and crystal-clear, azure sea. The food of this region is fresh and light, with lots of vegetables. Samphire grows in the coves of the Aegean coast and is served boiled as a simple salad at balik (fish) restaurants. This mouthwatering recipe is slightly different from the traditional boiled version. The samphire is grilled to give it a smoky finish, then dressed in olive oil, lemon, and garlic while still warm so that it soaks up all the flavors as it cools.

From Turkish Delights by John Gregory-Smith

Charred Samphire with Lemon

Serves 4


  • 6 ounces samphire
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed


  1. Blanch the samphire in a saucepan of boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes until tender. Refresh in ice water and drain.
  2. Heat a griddle pan over high heat until smoking. Meanwhile, pour the oil onto a flat dish. Add the lemon juice and garlic and mix together.
  3. Grill the samphire in batches. Spread it out onto the griddle and cook for 2 minutes until a little charred and smoky. Remove from the pan and toss straight into the dressing. Repeat with remaining samphire and leave for 2 minutes to soak up the dressing. Serve immediately.

Excerpted from Turkish Delights: Stunning Regional Recipes from the Bosporus to the Black Sea by John Gregory-Smith, Kyle Books.

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