A beautiful Friday walk along the remarkably clean sands of Jamaica Bay at low tide, and I stumbled upon a plant I've been looking for since I saw its picture here: Cakile edentula, or sea rocket.
I love salad leaves, and if this really was like rocket (what the English call arugula) in flavour, and had a hint of its mustardy DNA, then we would be well matched. It belongs to the numerous, cruciferous Brassicaceae family, which comprises over 3,700 species within 330 genera.
I nibbled. And...delicious. Slightly succulent, salty at first and then some powerful horseradish afternotes. It is hard to find nutritional information about sea rocket but with a kick like that I am sure that it boasts some anti (-oxidant, -bacterial, -inflammatory) properties. More research needed.
It is a native plant, not a marauding weed, and belongs to the dune life, so I picked a few judicious sprigs from each of several bushes scattered along the high tide mark. Back in my bag on the warm way home they flopped and drooped, and I told them to hang on. They had never seen a subway before.
Water! - and after half an hour they had revived.
Into a salad of romaine hearts and sliced scallions, joined later by some roof tomatoes. Olive oil and sherry vinegar vinaigrette. (The drink is my summer concoction of Noilly Prat and St Germaine.)
Now, to find a way to cultivate it. Sun, super-drainage...
I need seed.