Oyster Leaf and Kale Salad

I made a salad at the allotment today. A salad bowl and a bottle of salad dressing (dressing made out of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, grainy mustard, salt, maple syrup, finely chopped garlic chives and poppy seeds) came up to the plot with me.

Salad bowl and bottle of salad dressing

Into the bowl went two perennial vegetables that have been growing at the plot for a while but which we haven't eaten much yet; oyster leaf (Mertensia maritima - also called oyster plant or sea bluebells) and ice plant (Sedum spectabile). In the photo below the oyster leaves are the glaucous blue leaves and the oyster leaf flowers can be seen in front of the leaf on the left. There are quite a lot of oyster leaves in the bowl but when they are coated with salad dressing they lose their blue colour and don't stand out so well. They have a pleasantly salty tang. Ice plant is a succulent with glaucous green leaves. Its flat pink flower umbels are often seen in autumn covered with tortoiseshell butterflies. I thought the leaves might be bitter at this time of year but they had a fresh, mild, slightly lemony juiciness to them.

Bowl of oyster leaf and kale salad

The bulk of the salad was shredded kale. After a munch tour of the perennial kales to see which had the least bitterness I decided to use Daubenton kale. (Asturian tree cabbage came second in the least bitter stakes). The kale was shredded and massaged a bit to make it juicy and a few other leaves were added: young sea kale and sea beet leaves and New Zealand spinach or Warrigal greens (Tetragonia tetragonioides). And I added two Sunset apples, a few halved cucamelons, and some Calendula petals and borage flowers.

I ate some of the salad for lunch and took the rest home. We've just polished off the rest of the salad with chilli beans and rice (and oyster mushrooms!). We had some friends around and I learnt something which surprised me. Not ever having eaten oysters I didn't know, but it seems oyster leaf really does taste of oysters!

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