Thursday, August 03, 2006

Recipe for Chopped Middle Eastern Salad with Purslane


One of the things I love the most about Weekend Herb Blogging is the way it gets me to try new ingredients I haven't eaten or written about before. I've tried some interesting things over the last 44 weeks, but this is the first time I've written about something that grows as a weed. A few weeks back when Isil from Veggie Way wrote about a nutritious salad featuring purslane, a type of succulent green plant considered a delicacy in Europe, I knew I had it in my garden. Not that I wanted to grow it, at least not before now!

Although I had always considered it to be an obnoxious weed, I was very pleasantly surprised by the taste of purslane, which to me was slightly reminiscent of the flavor of other greens like spinach or chard. When I did more research on the plant, I discovered the popularity of purslane in recent years is partly due to the fact that it contains more omega 3 fatty acids than any other leafy plant food. Something that tastes fresh and savory, grows like a weed, and is very nutritious! How great is that!

The salad I made with the purslane from my garden is a variation of the salad sometimes called Salad Shirazi. My version was adapted quite a bit from the recipe I found on Epicurious.com. I left out the onions because I wanted to be sure to taste the purslane, and added a bit of mayo to the dressing for a creamier blend. I thought this salad tasted fresh and healthy, and the flavor of the purslane went well with the mint and parsley that makes this type of salad so lively. I can tell purslane is something I'll be adding to a lot more salads from now on.

Weekend Herb Blogging is all about interesting herbs or plants, so this seems like a perfect entry. This week the host is Christa of Calendula and Concrete.

Chopped Middle Eastern Salad with Purslane
(4 generous servings)



Ingredients:
3 large tomatoes, diced, salted, and drained
1 large cucumber, diced small
2 cups chopped purslane
1 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped mint
salt, fresh ground pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
zest of one lemon
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T mayo or plain yogurt


Instructions:
Dice tomatoes in 1/2 inch pieces, place in colander, sprinkle with salt, and let drain while you prepare other ingredients. Chop cucumber in 1/4 inch pieces and place in large bowl. Trim purslane, discarding roots and large stems and keeping tender stems with attached leaves. Wash well in salad spinner, rinsing several times. Chop coarsely so pieces are about an inch long. Add purslane to cucumbers. Wash mint and parsley, spin dry, chop finely with chef's knife or food processor, and add to cucumbers and purslane.

Zest lemon and squeeze juice into small bowl. Add mayonnaise or yogurt to lemon juice and whisk until well combined. Keep whisking as you add olive oil, about half a tablespoon at a time, until all oil is combined with other ingredients.


Remove tomatoes from colander, blotting dry with paper towel if they still seem wet. Gently combine tomatoes, cucumbers, purslane, mint, and parsley. Drizzle dressing over and combine again. Season salad with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve immediately.

You could vary this recipe greatly to your own taste, adding diced onions, increasing the amount of tomatoes or cucumbers, or adding other ingredients. Things I think might taste great with purslane include capers, olives, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, and all types of salad greens. I'm especially looking forward to combining it in a salad with arugula, since I have an abundant supply of purslane still left in my garden.




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17 comments:

ilva said...

What an interesting salad, I just have to check out if there's any growing around here somewhere. And the photos are getting better and better kalyn!

Kalyn said...

Thanks Ilva. You know it means a lot, coming from you!

Erin S. said...

Yum! I need my own garden, I tell ya. Some farmers have been selling purslane at my local farmers' market, but they charge an arm and a leg ($7 for a bunch). Seems a bit ridiculous for what I assume grows wild on the farm!

steven said...

Shall I send you all my purslane? I'm getting tired of eating it.

Isil S. said...

Hi Kalyn,
it was me who wrote about purslane at WHB a few weeks ago ;)
I'm glad you enjoyed it.

indosungod said...

Kalyn, interesting bit of news abou Purslane, shows never to underestimate even a weed.

That is one inviting Salad you have there.

Kalyn said...

Erin, you need a garden!! Gardens are so much fun.

Steven, I can only imagine how much you have. Thanks anyway, I have quite a bit of my own.

Isil, thanks for letting me know. I will edit right away and add a link to give you credit for telling me about this. I even looked in a few WHB recaps, but didn't see it. (Too many weeks of WHB, I guess my brain is getting fuzzy.)

Indosungod, thanks. I really like the taste of it.

Urban Vegan said...

I have never tried purslane, but I have read of its high omega 3 content. Nice addition to Virginie's picnic.

Judith said...

My definition of a weed is anything growing where I don't want it to grow, (which includes the raspberries that volunteer all over my garden).

Amazing to think that while some folks are weeding out purslane as fast as they can, others are paying handsomely for it.

gattina said...

Kalyn,
I've been learning something new every week. Great pic Kalyn!

cookiecrumb said...

I'm agreeing with Ilva: Super pix.
As for the purslane (I "harvest" it myself), I wonder if you'd be happier trimming the thick stems away from those leaves.

Kalyn said...

Urban Vegan, thanks. The nutrition benefit was really a plus.

Judith, I agree with your definition. some of my salvia which flowers beautifully is spilling seeds over in to my lawn, so now I consider that a weed when it's in the lawn.

Gattina, thanks. I want WHB to be all about learning, so I'm glad you are.

CC: Thanks. I only used the ends of the stems, but next time I'll try trimming the leaves off more. Tomorrow I have some friends coming for dinner so maybe I will try some out on them just mixed in a green salad.

JMom said...

I have been telling my husband about this ever since I saw Isil's post a few weeks ago! I hope I can find purslane at the farmer's market here so I can try it out. I haven't too many of them growing here, but my mom in CA has bunches on her front yard! I'll have to tell her to try them :)

Sher said...

Hmm, I do have that growing in my yard, but I never thought of eating it! I usually mutter nasty things as I pull it up.

Kalyn said...

JMom, tell her to try it. I really like the flavor.

Sher, you try it too. I bet you will like it.

Virginie said...

I love purslane too. But in a city, it's hard to find, or sold very expensive in some organic stores. Hopefully, my Mum keeps it in her garden so we can enjoy it. It is a real joy of gardenning : it grows without any work !
Your salad is a nice idea to cook with.

David said...

I keep trying to like purslane, but I always feel like I'm chomping down on a Jade plant.

Glad someone's enjoying the bounty!

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