Here's another wild, edible plant that grows along the rocky coasts of Greece (and certainly other parts of the Mediterranean as well) alongside the flowering caper plants. In Greek it's called kritama and it tastes very unique; its succulent leaves are naturally salty with notes of celery and citrus zest. I really love it. My Greek Horta cookbook explains that this plant is hardly ever harvested anymore, which I think is rather a shame.
Every summer I pick about a pound and put it up in jars. As you can see in the photo, I like to pick the last 5 leaves at the tips of the stoutest, pudgiest plants. The recipe goes something like this:
1 pound kritama
dry white wine to cover
a pinch of salt*
3-4 bay leaves
* The leaves, eaten raw are salty enough but once they're boiled in the wine they need a bit more salt for flavor and it couldn't hurt their shelf-life after jarring.
I bring the wine to a boil and add the kritama leaves, the salt and the bay leaves. I boil some clean glass jars in water. After 10 minutes of boiling, the kritama leaves are ready to be jarred. I take a jar out of the boiling water and spoon some kritama and wine into it, the seal tightly, and set upside-down until it cools to room temperature, then repeat with the other jars.
One pound of kritama makes enough small jars to serve as an appetizer along with the house olives at the occasional Greek dinner party. Because I was taught to be really selective in my kritama picking (only the last 5 leaves from the fattest plants, I've passed a lot of kritama by in my time) I was really surprised to find this dish served as a vegetable, not a tiny appetizer at the restaurant in Labinou town, Pelion. Here's their version, dropped into boiling water, boiled until tender and served simply with salt, pepper, white wine vinegar and really good olive oil. I have a lot more to say about this restaurant that seems to specialize in old-fashioned peasant food. It's really neat because the dishes at this place are hard to find anywhere else. Music to eat the rare Greek delicacy, kritama by: "So Unusual" by Jason Mraz.