Thursday, 8 September 2011

Dhruv Baker's Unusual Ingredients!

We found this amazing feature in the Waitrose Weekend magazine - 1st September 2011

Dhruv Baker Unusual Ingredients - Samphire and Sea Aster

We decided to share this feature from the Waitrose Weekend Magazine, because it shares a great but simple dish using the fabulous Samphire we grow.

Dhruv quiet rightly identifies these magical-sounding ingredients as having moved from being the domain of determined foragers and high-end restaurants to very popular and sold in Waitrose.

At WestlandsWow Growing Samphire, Sea Aster and the rest of our Taste of the Sea collection has been a wonderful journey, particularly being able to supply these products and bring them into the homes of consumers.  Dhruv says that Samphire is an ingredient he eagerly anticipates and he ensures that he cooks with it as much as possible during the peak production months of July, August and September.

Samphire has lush, green, succulent stems, which resemble tiny asparagus tips, they have a natural saltiness.  As a result, Dhruv says that Samphire goes beautifully with most seafood but also with lamb, and we agree with him.  You can steam, blanch, or pan-fry with a knob of butter and a squeeze of lemon.

Equally Sea Aster is a wonderful and fascinating plant; it has a delicate flavour so you don't need to do much with it.  Dhruv recommends eating it raw in salads or quickly sautéed with a touch of garlic and served with white fish.

Try this simple dish from Dhruv, which will bring out the natural flavours of both the fish and Samphire, enjoy!


Serves 4 as a starter:

  • 4 Turbot fillets, or firm white fish (about 100g-120g each)
  • 1 tsp Maldon Sea Salt
  • Thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, peeled, cut into sticks thinner than matchsticks
  • 2 salad onions, cut into thin strips
  • 50ml light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • 300g washed Samphire, with thicker, fibrous stems removed
  • 1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon


Rub the fish with the sea salt and place on a plate small enough to fit into your steamer.  Leave for 5 minutes before placing the ginger matchsticks on top.

Steam the fish on a high heat until cooked.  Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fillets, but it will take about 5 minutes until opaque.

Take out the plate of fish from the steamer and pour off any liquids that may have collected on the plate.  Scatter the chopped salad onions on the fish and pour over the soy sauce.

Heat the vegetable and sesame oils in a frying pan until starting to smoke then pour over the fish (the onions will fizz and crackle).

Pour a little oil from the plate back into the pan, add the garlic and samphire and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.

Pour over the lemon juice and serve the samphire with the fish placed on top.


We'd love to hear how you got on with this recipe so why not post your own pictures of this dish on our Westlands Wow Facebook Page, or even your own ideas of cooking with Samphire and Sea Aster.