Regionally known as Sampha, Sampkin, Sea Asparagus and most notably Glasswort as it's ashes were used in 14th century English glassmaking techniques. Historically samphire would be picked by perilously clambering down the cliffs where many fell to their untimely end as mentioned in Shakespeare's King Lear.
'Half-way down hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade!'
Samphire is very simple to prepare. Wash under running water and then drop it into boiling water for a few minutes just long enough to retain its bright green colour.
Rather than steaming I find boiling reduces the very salty flavour a little to suit my palate. A knob of butter and freshly milled pepper is all that's needed to finish.
I served Samphire this afternoon alongside Razor Clams with Wild mushrooms, Seaweeds and a Potato Sea Foam. My amateur adaption of a recipe from Le Champignon Sauvage. Razor clams were a first for me and I'm not sure that I would cook them again, I think I'd prefer scallops to accompany my next samphire dish.