Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wild Foods: Purslane

My yard is getting wild and wooly, and purslane (verdolaga) is dotting the cracks of my sidewalks. Lucky for me, purslane is a tasty weed. Image from the University of Illinois.

Purslane is a crunchy, mucilaginous succulent. It makes a nice addition to salads and goes especially well with cucumbers and pears. You can throw it in to a blender with other vegetables for gazpacho or scramble it with eggs. It is great in cooked soups. It has a crunch similar to green beans when raw and a texture like nopalitos (cactus) when cooked.

Pickled Purslane
  • 1 quart purslane stems and leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 quart apple cider vinegar (or old pickle, jalapeno juice,etc.)
  • 10 peppercorns
Clean the purslane stems and leaves by rinsing with fresh water. Cut into 1" pieces and place in clean jars with lids. Add the spices and pour the vinegar over the purslane. Keep this in the refrigerator and wait at least two weeks before using. Serve as a side dish with omelets and sandwiches.

Purslane with Tomato (Domatesli Semizotu)

  • 1 bunch or 1 lb purslane (verdolaga in Spanish), washed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced or minced
  • 2 tomatoes, grated or petite diced (or 1 can petite diced tomato)
  • 1/4 cup rice (soaked in hot water for 15-20 minutes)
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 cup hot water

Heat olive oil on medium heat and saute onions. Add purslane, tomato, rice (that you soaked and rinsed), salt, sugar, pepper. Stir for a couple of minutes. Pour in water. Cook on low covered for 15-20 minutes until rice is cooked. Serve warm or cold.

Yeon and I made this dish tonight and it was awesome. We changed a few things- used leeks and garlic scapes instead of onions and garlic, and added roasted peppers. The purslane creates a gumbolike texture.


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