Stray Foodie recipe: Salty fingers, samphire, leek & mussel


Last updated Mar 3, 2021

Stray Foodie Lockdown Recipes are written by Michelin-starred chef, Frances Atkins. In 1997, Frances opened the Yorke Arms near Pateley Bridge, where she was the owner for 20 years. During her ownership, she held her Michelin-star status for 16 of those years.

“I’ll be bringing you some of my favourite recipes each week. I’d love to see how you make the recipes your own – let me know by using #StrayFoodie or tagging @thestrayferret in your social media posts.”


For those not in the know, Harrogate now has a wonderful fish shop, Tarbett’s on Commercial Road. Their service is exemplary and their fish a joy to behold.

Salty fingers is a coastal succulent (salicomia). Like samphire, any good fishmonger sells it, and it has a delicious salty, juicy flavour which compliments fish dishes beautifully – as well as many other foods.

Salty Fingers

Leeks – where would we be without a Leek? A fabulous vegetable that can be the base for a sauce, especially with mussels, or as a starter eek vinaigrette, or as a vegetable crumble with lentils. The list is endless and they are always something I have in my flavour tool box.

This weeks’ recipe shows poached cod, leek & mussel finished with salty fingers, samphire and sea vegetables. Broken down, a very simple dish to execute and a great dish to put with all those spring vegetables that will soon be available.

You will need:

  • 1 piece of cod
  • 1 x leek
  • 100g cream
  • 1 x knob of butter
  • Splash of white wine
  • A handful of mussels
  • A bunch of thyme
  • 1 shallot

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Season the cod and steam or poach, this should take no longer than five minutes and the cod should be opaque.

Wash and finely chop the leek, sweat off in a little butter and a tablespoon of water until very soft. Unlike any other vegetables, leeks should always be well cooked, otherwise they can be chewy!

While the leek is cooking, wash the mussels thoroughly and discard any that have a hole, are cracked or slightly open. This is important as these are not usable.

Heat a pan until very hot, put in the white wine, chopped shallot, some thyme and the mussels and put the lid on.

Steam the mussels in the white wine until they open.

When opened, cool and remove from shell.

Strain the juice into the softened leeks, and blend.

Pass through a sieve then add the cream, bring to the boil and finish with a knob of butter.

Place the finished sauce on the plate.

Place the cod in the centre with the mussels around.

Garnish with washed salty fingers, samphire and sea vegetables.

In the photograph you will see I have also used crispy potato balls. It is up to you – but perhaps some jersey royals would be preferred at this time of year.

To finish your meal, why not try some specialist cheese from The Cheese Board opposite the fish shop – a cheese lovers heaven!

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The vaccination clinic in Knaresborough will be back from tomorrow and will be open for the rest of the week.

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