Crystal Ice Plant Salad with Edible Flowers
Okay, bear with me. The title says it all and yes, it seems weird. But I’ve been on a food adventure this week and expanding my menu options in new and exciting ways that also won’t give me a stomach ache nor send me to the hospital. I mentioned in a previous post that trying new things was not only the adult thing to do but also could open up your world. I’ve eaten some pretty strange things before but never really tried to make a dish using unusual ingredients. The following is something that you can not only make, but because there’s no cooking involved, you can’t really mess it up.
Salads can be an easy go-to when you need a meal though they aren’t necessarily filling. But this salad has enough body and texture that it’ll fill you up and is pretty to boot. Crystal Ice plants, or Mesembryanthemum Crystallinum, are a coastal plant found in many places, have a thick membrane and are slightly salty and tangy. They’re also really interesting.
This looks like it’s dewy, doesn’t it? Like ice crystals have frozen on spinach, though they are hard to the touch, not wet. These little bladder membranes provide a great crunch when you bite into the succulent. It can be sauteed or eaten raw. It’s perfectly paired with a drizzled mixture of olive oil, mustard, honey, parsley and garlic powder.
To add more color, I went the floral route. A local market had these beauties on sale and since I wanted to try more flowers, I bought one of each kind.
The purple and crimson ones are viola, or pansies, and have a light, mild taste. The calendula are a bit tangy with a touch of orange sharpness. To complement all the tang with a bit of sweetness, I added some slices from my Japanese strawberry rice recipe a few days ago and a few grapes.
Something really cool about pansies is you can eat the entire flower, not just the petals, as you must do with most other edible flowers. Walking along in a garden district today, I saw lots of pansies and laughed when I thought to myself, “Look, lunch!” I sprinkled a bit of each of the flowers on the following salad and they added a fun texture, like baby spinach. Isn’t that just a gorgeous salad? Look at all the color!
Let us know if you find some of this deliciousness and how you served it!