Salad Burnet - but not in a Salad!

Salad burnet in summer
Salad burnet in summer...

Salad burnet, Sanguisorba minor, is sometimes listed as a herb. But to my mind, with its mildly flavoured leaves which can be added in quantity to a salad, it qualifies as a vegetable. I like it; despite being a tough customer - a drought tolerant native perennial which will grow almost anywhere - it's pretty and neat and freshly green nearly all the year around (the photo below was taken a few days ago). A well-behaved perennial vegetable. So I was interested to see if I could do more than just use it in a salad.

Salad burnet in winter
...and in winter

I couldn't find any recommendations to cook it as a separate vegetable but I did try this. It really doesn't taste of much cooked this way - but it is nutritious and can be added to soups and stews early on in the cooking process (presumably to make sure the stalks are cooked through). Although most recipes talk about using burnet as a flavouring, (in tomato sauce for instance as you would use oregano, or in Frankfurt grĂ¼ne sosse (green sauce) where it accompanies borage, sorrel, garden cress, chervil, chives, parsley along with dill pickle, shallots, hard-boiled eggs, oil, vinegar, salt and sour cream and is traditionally eaten with eggs and potatoes), a few that I found sometimes used larger quantities. I think it just depends on the cook! Salad burnet has a distinct but mild flavour (often likened to cucumber) - using a lot won't spoil the dish and will give you more green nutrition! So you can try a mass of it in herb butter to use in delicate sandwiches or accompany fish, or mix it (as I did) with cream cheese, cottage cheese, salt and pepper as a baked potato topping.

Salad burnet cream cheese on baked potatoes
Salad burnet cream cheese

But don't be lazy as I was and fail to strip the little leaves from their stalks. It's so easy - I was just a bit tired after doing some jobs on a very windy allotment! Despite fine chopping, our topping was tasty but rather stalky!

The burnet was gathered from the very windy allotment but for the best tasting leaves either pamper your plant with a sheltered position, a non-acid, very fertile soil and plenty of water or grow lots of it (it makes a good-looking path edging) and pluck just the softest, youngest growth from the centre of the plants.

N.B. I sell a range of perennial vegetable plants on my website.