For a long time Motar was almost forgotten herb in Croatian cuisine. There were only few restaurants and chefs using it and they were mostly situated in islands like Lastovo and Korcula. Luckily, in last few years Motar is rediscovered and it is about to become the star of Croatian coastal cuisine!
All thought I'm happy that I don't have to travel for 5 hours to Augusta Insula restaurant on Island of Lastovo just to enjoy their famous Motar salad, I am little concerned how sudden popularity of Motar could affect the life of this wild green.
Motar (Crithmum maritimum L.), Rock Samphire or Sea fennel grows on rocky Mediterranean shores, it is the last dry-lend plant exposed to strong wind, salt, sea waves, draying sun... it survives extreme weather conditions but uncontrolled exploitation, initiated by growing gastronomic demand could be fatal.
Another danger for Motar menaces from tourism industry that builds hotels on the cost and destroys natural habitat of this plant.
I hope our little heroic plant that defies the wind, sea and sun for centuries will resist all threats of the modern age and that we all will enjoy it, hand-picking it moderately and wisely!
Motar has been used in different ways for centuries, from time of Greeks and Romans, as a food - raw, steamed, boiled or pickled, but it was also used as an medicament due to it's therapeutics and aromatic contents. Even today it is widely used in modern cosmetics perfumery and medicine.
I like to eat it pickled and this summer we (well, my sister did, to be more precise) pickled it ourself for the first time!
Well, Johanna from The Passionate Cook gave me perfect reason to post about it when she decided to host this months WTSIM... with a theme: SAVOURY PRESERVES.
Pickled Sea Fennel (Rock Samphire, Motar...)
Hand pick sea Fennel before it flowers. Pick of the small leaves.
Wash them in sea water (fresh pipe water will do).
Cook it in mixture of water and vinegar (70:30) for 15 min until tender.
Leave it to cool and store it in jars filled with diluted vinegar (half water, half vinegar).
You can use it for seasoning salads, or as a cold relish to round meat or fish dish! Play with it and you will discover wonderful ways to enjoy this extraordinary plant!