It’s a sweet, blowy day and I’ve taken the dogs on one of their favourite walks, through a large expanse of undulating dunes that lead to a wide beach. But even though they love it here, this is not the reason I’ve come. I’m here because I’m foraging again.
A river hugs the perimeter of the dunes. Where it meets the sea it’s flanked by flat coastal marshes, hidden behind the final rise of dune before you reach the beach. And on these marshes, fed by the sea that floods them at high tide, are the rich green samphire beds.
Samphire, sometimes called sea asparagus or glasswort, tastes wonderfully of the sea. The dogs chase one another around the shallow salt ponds while I snip the tips from the plants, picking just enough for tea. Samphire doesn’t keep well and the usual foraging rules apply here: never take more than you need, leave plenty behind and never uproot whole plants.
You can eat the young tips raw but I usually simmer them for a few minutes in boiling water, not long enough to lose the crunch but just enough to eliminate some of the salt. It goes well with pasta and if you eat fish it’s lovely with that. But tonight while the dogs doze, dreaming of dunes, I’m keeping it simple, tossed with olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. Delicious.