Samphire was possibly the first food I discovered that I could forage for locally in New Zealand. A local chef was using it on his menu and getting press for having foraged for it himself. He refused to divulge exactly where he’d found it. Intrigued, it set me on a personal mission to see if I could find it for myself. It turns out, once you know where it prefers to grow, you can’t help but find it in abundance. Samphire is the perfect side to highlight the taste of the sea with Chickpea and Potato Seacakes.
This salty little seaside succulent is traditionally paired with fish (which I have an allergy to), so I challenged myself to find another way to use it. I wanted to keep a focus on the sense and taste of the sea.
The chickpea potato seacakes, with a hint nori, goes really well with steamed samphire and kale, topped off with tofu tartare sauce (a traditional fish accompaniment).
The New Zealand variety is slightly different to one one found in the UK; and rather than forage for it here (which is always more satisfying), it is most abundant at the local supermarket. I’ve included some notes at the bottom of this post if you decide to try foraging for it yourself.
Taste of the Seacakes
Serves – 4 to 6
- 350g new potatoes or waxy potatoes
- 340g cooked chickpeas – crushed
- 100g finely diced celery (approx 2 stems)
- 100g finely diced red onion
- 50g finely diced Gherkins ( approx 1/3 cup)
- 10g Nori ( approx 3 sheets) or kelp flakes
- 1tsp seasalt
- Wholemeal bread crumbs
Steam or boil the new potatoes, you want them firm but edible, crush with a fork and season, set aside to cool.
Finely dice celery, red onion and gherkin, mix together in a bowl, add the chickpeas.
Grind the nori sheets or chop into tiny pieces, stir into your mixture, add the potatoes once they are cooled.
Wet your hands, divide your mix into into 12 equal portions and mold into patties, refrigerate while you make your batter mix.
Once the seaquakes are chilled, coat in wholemeal breadcrumbs .
Lightly oil a frypan and colour both sides of the seacakes
Tofu Tartare Sauce
- Tofu Aioli
- 1 shallot finely diced
- 2 Tbsp chopped capers
- 2 Tbsp finely diced cornichon
- Chopped fresh parsley
Make one recipe, stir in finely diced shallots, coronation and capers. Add chopped fresh parsley, this could be switched chives, parsley or chervil. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Samphire and Kale
Blanch or steam until tender, will only take a minute or 2.
Foraging for Samphire:
It grows through the Summer months and is typically found in salt or mud marshes in the UK. In New Zealand it can be found most often on rocky shoreline, just above the hide tide mark, fresh growing tips are best harvested in late spring to early summer.
Choose a location with clean coastline, good tidal movement, away from potential pollutants.
Snip off the tops of the plants with scissors, leaving the more fibrous stems in the ground so that the roots can continue to grow.
Wash, making sure you remove any sand and grit, pat it dry and keep wrapped in a paper towel in the fridge until ready to use.