This is purslane. It is my absolute favorite summer staple from the farmer’s market. I crave it. I keep it in a vase so I can pick sprigs to snack on all day.
Until this season I had never heard of it, but thanks to my wonderful guy I am now an addict. We ran out last night and I think I was experiencing withdrawals. (It does contain dopamine, afterall.) But it also contains a ton of other really good stuff, like for example, more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy green. Pretty bad ass.
Common in Europe, the Mediterranean, and throughout the middle east and Asia, purslane has been a culinary and medicinal staple for centuries. While it is a gorgeous summer treat, it’s popularity is also likely due to the fact that it is so resilient. In areas of low water it can switch to a different method of photosynthesis that traps carbon dioxide and ultimately converts it into nutrients. (Read more about it here.)
As far as taste and texture, it somehow manages to be sturdy and delicate with both its crisp stem and tender leaves. It’s a succulent that you eat, but think of it as the texture of a sprout with a slight lemon taste that’s more like an herb…but not strong or overpowering at all.
I love it as a salad, in place of lettuce on a sammie, sprinkled on a pizza (with some olive oil), or sauteed as if it were spinach. It’s just so versatile.
When was the last time you really and truly tried something new? Here’s a simple recipe that showcases the purslane with some other great seasonal vegetables we have now. This is what we are meant to be eating this time of year. Give it a go!
Purslane Summer Salad
– 1 bunch organic purslane (can use the entire stem, just remove the roots if still attached)
– 1 japanese cucumber, thick dice
– 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
– 1 tsp brown rice vinegar
– 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
– small dash nama shoyu (tamari, or soy sauce will work too)
– 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
– pinch of salt
– white pepper
– gomasio (white and black sesame seeds)
Add the purslane, diced cucumber, and onion slices to a bowl. Lightly toss with the vinegars, nama shoyu, and olive oil until everything is evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and lightly toss again. Garnish with the gomasio and serve.
Nama Shoyu is unpasteurized or “raw” soy sauce. Though it is heated above the raw max of 115-degrees, the presence of living enzymes is still present after fermentation.
Gomasio is a blend of unhulled, toasted sesame seeds and varying proportions of salt. Be sure to taste the saltiness of your mix and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Mixing vinegars is a great way to add that secret depth of flavor. Don’t fret about the brown rice vinegar if you don’t have it. You can substitute white rice vinegar here if that’s what you have on hand.
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