Those of you with CSA shares may have found a puzzling green in your box this summer, and chances are it’s purslane. But WTF is it, exactly? Basically, purslane is a tasty and nutritious weed. The little green plant whose name sounds like it’s straight out of a British romance novel is gaining ground in the world of healthy eating—and for good reason.
Purslane is high in vitamin C and has more omega-3 fatty acids than any other green vegetable. It’s commonly eaten all over the world, especially in Mexico and in Greece (Greeks toss it with lemon juice and feta cheese). But here in America, purslane is the bane of American gardeners. It’s official name is portulaca oleracea, and it can crop up in your flower beds, causing havoc. It’s also poisonous to livestock, so don’t go feeding it to your horses.
But feel free to feed it to yourself! Purslane has a slightly sour, slightly lemony taste, and is great in salads, soups and stews. Stephanie, the blogger behind Chef Tess Bakeresse said of purslane:
I enjoy cooking with it because it is so readily available and mild in flavor. It’s texture is a cross between watercress and spinach and it is particurly mild. I was initially almost expecting it to be a little spicy, but was honestly surprised by how light and refreshing the flavor was and is! I prefer it in salad, but it can also get a quick saute or steam. So far, a little fresh garlic and some olive oil have been the bomb!
Most recipes call for only using the leaves of the purslane plant. I like to cook it like I would spinach…with pasta, in quiches, even blended up with oil and parmesan in a makeshift pesto.
If you need a recipe to ease you into cooking with purslane, try Chef Tess’ Citrus-Mustard Grilled Zucchini Salad, which also utilizes other delicious late-summer produce: zucchini and tomatoes!
Chef Tess’ Citrus-Mustard Grilled Zucchini Salad with Purslane and Tomatoes
2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 tsp orange zest
¼ c fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing zucchini
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 zucchini (1 3/4 to 2 lb total), halved lengthwise
12 oz purslane, thick stems removed (4 cups)
10 oz pear or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Whisk together zest, lemon juice, shallot, mustard, and salt in a small bowl. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until dressing is emulsified. Whisk in pepper and parsley.
Lightly brush zucchini all over with oil. When fire is hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 1 to 2 seconds), grill zucchini, cut sides down first, on lightly oiled grill rack, uncovered, turning once, until zucchini are just tender, 8 to 12 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and cool slightly, then cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Toss zucchini with purslane, tomatoes, and dressing in a large bowl. Serve immediately.
We also posted another delicious purslane salad recipe back in June.