Samphire fritters with fennel ceviche and lemon thyme dressing recipe

• Serves 6

Samphire is wonderfully adaptable. It can be used as a warm salad with, for example, gooseberry and halloumi; or as a starter sautéed with pickled peppers and hollaindaise sauce. In this recipe the samphire tempoura's beautifully. It's teaming with nutrients, flavour and texture and makes a great mission day out to go and pick.

Ingredients

  • 500 gm/ 1lb fresh samphire
  • 100 gm plain flour
  • 100 gm cornflower
  • 1 egg
  • Approx 250 ml sparkling mineral water/cold tap water
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground fennel
  • 1 litre good (non g.m.) vegetable/ sunflower oil for frying
  • 1 large bulb fennel
  • 2 medium carrots
  • ½ bunch spring onion
  • 3 large lemons
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • 150 ml pomice olive oil/or a good sunflower oil
  • 6 x sprigs of thyme (de-stalked and finely chopped)

Method

  1. Finely grate the lemons and juice of 2½ lemons put in small pan and reduce on a gentle heat by 50%, and leave to cool.
  2. Meanwhile remove the rough stem part of the fennel, then separate the layers and either cut or shave into very fine strips. Peel the carrot lengthways and also cut into very fine strips, do the same with the spring onion. Move to a bowl and mix and marinate with the 1 tbsp maple syrup, sea salt and the juice of the remaining lemon half, and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
  3. Transfer the lemon reduction to a measuring jug, add the remaining maple syrup, the chopped thyme and the mustard. Then with a hand blender, slowly blend in the pomice oil (like a mayonnaise to a smooth emulsion). Add a tablespoon of warm water at end to 'let down a little' don't worry if this splits as a good whisk before serving will bring it back.
  4. Remove the tough ends of the samphire then wash and dry thoroughly. Mix the plain and cornflower then whisk/mix in the egg. Slowly whisk in the mineral water to a smooth batter (the consistency of double cream). Season with the pepper and ground fennel.
  5. Heat the fryer/pan to medium temperature (170oC). Dip the samphire in tennis ball size clusters into the batter and fry for 2 mins until just taking colour and crisp to touch.
  6. n.b. the fritters can be a little greasy so dry on kitchen towel
  7. Serve the fritters with the lemon dressing or use as a dip, accompanied by the fennel marinade (ceviche)

 

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