Vegetables Facts and Tips (13): Salicorne

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I decided to run this posting on this rare vegetable following a query from my dear friend Jenn.

Salicorne has a slightly salty with a fresh, not overpowering, herbal taste. It grows exceptionally well in salt marshes and can sometimes be harvested under wharves. Although salicorne is a weed and does grow by the sea, it does not look like seaweed. It is more like a sprig off a tree with small dark green fleshy branches.
Apparently they are grown or collected in France onlyalong its Westen and Northern shores.

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Salicorne has no comfortable English name. Some call it sea asparagus, and it does have a little of the sweet flavour of that vegetable. It is also known as slender glasswort, La salicorne, or criste-marine and perce-pierre in French. Its etymology is actually the Arabic word: “salcoran”. It is also thought to mean salt (sali) horn (corne) in French. So salicorne is how it is usually called in English and French.

It is exported to Canada fresh, pickled or in cans.
Human-grown as opposed to natural salicorne is better suited for cooking as it does not include all kinds of unwanted twigs and other unrelated plants when harvested in the wild.

Vegetarians and vegans can eat it fresh as it is, in salads or as pickles.

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Cooking/cuisine suggestion:
Smoked herring marinated in Salicorne cream:
Place 250 g of smoked herring in a deep oven dish. Cover fish with milk and let marinate for 2 hours. Drain and take moisture out by placing fish on kitchen paper.
Put them back inside the oven dish and cover with whote wine. Let them marinate again for 2 hours.
Drain them and cut the fish acrss into slices 2 or 3 cm thick.
Place te fish slices in a terrine dish, alternating them with thin slices of onion and carrot, a few parsley leaves, a branch of thyme and a leaf of laurel both chopped fine, some pepper and a tablespoon of finely cut wakame/Japanese seaweed. Cover with olive oile and let marinate inside fridge for 4~5 hours.
Take out a dozen sprigs of vinegared salicorne (canned), cut them finaly and mix them into a bowl of fresh cream that one can use later at will.
Place herring, onions and carrots on a dish with a little oil from the marinade.
Serve with hot boiled potatoes!

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14 thoughts on “Vegetables Facts and Tips (13): Salicorne”

  1. I bought a pickled can of Saucorne a l’ ancienne while in Brittany France, and I like suggestions in how I can use it, besides just opening…eat it. My idea is to make it part of a dinner dish, but it has to be gluten free. Thank you for your ideas.

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    1. Dear Amy!
      Greetings!
      Thank you so much for your comment!
      Salicorne is best savoured pickled in vinegar, or served in salads, or with fish dishes.
      Cheers,
      Robert-Gilles

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    2. Thank you Dragonlife,

      The one I have is pickled in Vinager. You suggested salads and fish. Can you elaborate, please be more detailed. Thank you.
      Cheers

      Amy

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      1. Dear Amy!
        Greetings!
        As for salads, this is up to avaibility.
        You could add them to salade nicoise or cold white-fleshed fish salad!
        As for the fish, i suggested a recipe in the same article!
        Just sautee them with fish. Add cream or even curry powder if you feel like it!
        Cheers,
        Robert-Gilles

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  2. Now, you’re talking my language LOL Salicorne or Zeekraal is known in Belgium. We got them mostly from the Netherlands but lately I saw some companies imported from Israel. I love to eat them just like that 😛 My in-laws collected them when they sail up to Netherlands – to a secret place only the locals knew 😀 Sometimes I add the salicornes before I dished out stir-fried prawns or steamed fish.

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    1. Dear Pixen!
      Greetings!
      That particular “vegetable” is slowly and surely acquiring popularity. They actually grow it more and more!
      Cheers,
      Robert-Gilles

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  3. Hi Robert,

    This Salicorne was one of the first things I sought out when arriving in London last year. Its known as Samphire over here and apparently, according to a TV chef, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, Rock Samphire is the best, but the most difficult to collect as it grows on cliff edges.

    Anyway, really loved its crunchy, briny, sea-sweet taste and we had it blanched as a garnish on top of quick-seared fresh scallops lightly dusted with curry powder and fleur de sel. Lovely!

    And its really cheap here in the UK! Now…if only I could find Percebes or Gooseneck Barnacles here……

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    1. Dear Nick!
      Greetings!
      It’s interesting to see that you agree with most chefs in France as pertains to salicore and gastronomy. It must be cheap in the UK as opposed to the States.
      In France Rock samphire is called Perce Pierre/Pierce Stone!
      It does agree with British taste in food very well, too!
      Thank you so much for your comments!
      Cheers,
      Robert-Gilles

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  4. Thanks for the facts on this. It looked interesting on the stamp. I don’t think I’ve seen it here in the states. If it is, I must not be looking that hard. But it’s good to know what it is in case I see in the market.

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