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Turkish Delight: Steamed Samphire with Olive Oil and Garlic

Captivating your senses with its unique flavors, Turkish steamed samphire is a delightful culinary experience. Samphire, also known as glasswort, seagrass, or pickleweed, is a succulent salt marsh grass that grows abundantly across Europe, North America, and South Asia. Revered for its soothing properties and nutritional value, this vibrant plant has found its way into Turkish cuisine, captivating both cooks and diners alike.

Steamed Samphire

When Can You Find The Best Samphire?

From May to October, when samphire is at its plump and tender best, Turkish kitchens come alive with excitement. Steamed samphire takes center stage as a meze, a delectable starter traditionally served before fish and seafood meals.

With its texture and taste resembling asparagus, samphire has gained worldwide recognition as a suitable substitute for this beloved vegetable. Low in calories and rich in essential trace minerals, it is a wellness food that contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, this delightful starter is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly option, appealing to a wide range of dietary preferences.


To embark on this culinary adventure and indulge in something different, healthy, and delicious, follow this easy recipe that requires just a few ingredients.


– 1 large bunch of fresh samphire (approximately 2.5 pounds)
– 1/3 cup of olive oil
– 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
– 1/2 lemon, juiced
– Lemon wedges, for garnish

Steamed Samphire with Olive Oil and Garlic

Steps to Create the Turkish Steamed Samphire:

1. Gather all the ingredients.

2. Use a large pan of water to the boil.

3. Once the water reaches a boiling point, add the samphire, including the stalks. Allow it to boil for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

4. When the samphire turns vibrant green and tender, strain the cooked samphire and immediately plunge it into cold water to stop overcooking.

5. Once the cooked samphire has cooled, gently remove the flesh from each hard stalk. It should easily come off in long, hollow tubes.

  1. Place the cooked samphire in a large bowl. Using your fingers, delicately toss it with olive oil, finely chopped garlic, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  2. Serve the steamed samphire immediately, garnishing it with lemon wedges for a tangy burst of flavor. Enjoy this tantalizing dish that showcases the natural beauty and flavors of samphire.


While this salad is best enjoyed fresh, like most Turkish vegetable dishes prepared with olive oil, the samphire can be stored in the refrigerator for a few hours or even days, thanks to the preservative qualities of the oil. This ensures that your samphire remains fresh and ready to delight your taste buds whenever you desire.

Allow the enchanting flavors of Turkish steamed samphire with olive oil and garlic to transport you to the shores of the Mediterranean. Experience the magic of this dish as it harmoniously combines simplicity, healthfulness, and unmatched taste.

Steamed Samphire with Olive Oil and Garlic

Frequent Questions

1. What is samphire and what are some alternative names for it?
Samphire, also known as glasswort, seagrass, or pickleweed, is a succulent salt marsh grass that grows in Europe, North America, and South Asia.

2. When is the best time to enjoy fresh samphire?
The prime season for fresh and plump samphire is from May to October. During this time, it is at its peak in terms of flavor and tenderness.

3. How is samphire traditionally served in Turkish cuisine?
In Turkish cuisine, samphire is steamed and served as a meze, a starter dish. It is often enjoyed before fish and seafood meals.

4. What does samphire taste like and what vegetable can it be compared to?
When steamed and removed from its hard inner parts, samphire has the taste, color, and texture that resemble asparagus. It is often considered a suitable substitute for asparagus.

5. What are the nutritional benefits of samphire?
Samphire is a wellness food that is low in calories and rich in trace minerals. It contains no saturated fat or cholesterol, making it a healthy option.

6. Can the Turkish steamed samphire be stored for later consumption?
Yes, the samphire prepared with olive oil can be stored in the refrigerator for a few hours or even days. The olive oil helps preserve its freshness, allowing you to enjoy it at a later time.

Making The Perfect Samphire Salad

Mastering the art of creating the finest Turkish samphire salad requires a few expert tips. Here are some suggestions to ensure a delectable salad while evading detection:

1. Choose Fresh and Plump Samphire: Seek out fresh samphire that is plump and vibrant in color. The tender stalks ensure a delightful texture and optimal flavor for your salad.

2. Proper Cleaning and Preparation: Thoroughly wash the samphire to remove any sand or debris. Trim any tough ends or woody parts of the stalks, leaving behind the tender portions for your salad.

3. Balance Flavors: Achieve a harmonious flavor profile by combining the unique taste of samphire with complementary ingredients. Consider adding fresh lemon juice for acidity, a touch of olive oil for richness, and a sprinkle of sea salt for enhanced flavor.

4. Enhance with Herbs: Elevate the freshness and aroma of the salad by incorporating Turkish herbs such as mint or parsley. Finely chop the herbs and gently mix them into the salad for a burst of fragrance.

5. Delicate Tossing: When combining the ingredients, use a gentle tossing motion to ensure all elements are evenly coated without bruising or damaging the delicate samphire stalks.

6. Serve at the Ideal Temperature: Allow the salad to chill in the refrigerator for a short while to let the flavors meld together. Serve it chilled but not overly cold, allowing the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine through.

7. Garnish with Elegance: Just before serving, garnish the salad with visually appealing elements such as lemon wedges, thinly sliced red onions, or even a sprinkle of sumac for a touch of vibrant color.

8. Personalize with Additions: Feel free to experiment and add your own unique touch to the salad. Consider adding ingredients such as cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, or crumbled feta cheese to enhance the flavor and texture.

9. Timing is Key: Prepare the samphire salad shortly before serving to maintain its freshness and vibrant appeal. The flavors are best enjoyed when the salad is freshly made.

10. Appreciate Simplicity: Embrace the simplicity of the Turkish samphire salad and allow the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine. Avoid overcomplicating the dish and let the freshness and uniqueness of samphire be the star.

Steamed Samphire with Olive Oil and Garlic


Remember, culinary mastery comes with practice and personalization. Embrace the spirit of Turkish cuisine, enjoy the process of creating this delightful salad, and relish every bite of the vibrant flavors.

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