This has been a quick week for me. By the time you're reading this email, I'll already be in New Hampshire for the weekend! On Saturday, it's PVD (Parent Visitors Day) at my daughter's camp, one of my favorite days on the year. I love getting up to New England at this point in July, the weather is so sticky-hot in Baltimore, and the fresh breeze and cooler air in the mountains is very calming. How do you find your moments of calm during the hot summertime days?
Last weekend was all about weeds at my house. I think my husband found some moments of calm during the early mornings as he pulled weeds from the gardens surrounding our house. That's not my idea of a calming activity...but he did seem to get into a "zone" and focus his mind on the task at hand. Meanwhile, I went to the Waverly Farmers Market to pick-up my weekly CSA share from One Straw Farm. My husband expected me to return home with bags full of beautiful fresh vegetables; I came home with a few bags of weeds! Not the same kind that he was pulling from the garden, but instead, a delicious edible weed called Purslane.
Purslane is a common weed in our part of the country, but not widely used in the kitchen. In other cuisines, purslane is widely found in salads, soups, smoothies, dips/spreads - nearly anywhere that a green herb like parsley is found. What makes purslane so interesting to me, as a Registered Dietitian, is the nutrient content of this ubiquitous weed. Purslane contains a large amount of vitamin E and approximately seven times more beta-carotene than carrots - so it's great for your eyesight. Even more impressive is that it's an excellent plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is essential and vital for preventing and treating diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Furthermore, purslane is also rich in vitamin C, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium and phosphorus. I bet you didn't expect a weed to be so nutritious!
The taste of purslane is mild, with a slight lemon flavor. The young leaves, buds, and stems are especially delicious in fresh salads, such as the recipe that I have created and shared below. While purslane is a weed and grows all over the place, I must present a word of caution: please know the source of purslane before you bring it into your kitchen. Make sure it has grown in a "clean" environment, free of pesticides, fertilizers, or any other chemical contaminants. Always wash purslane in cool water, rinsing it several times before gently drying it in clean cotton dishcloths.
I've added only a few other ingredients to this salad, keeping it simple so that the flavor of the purslane can really shine. Feel free to play around with the recipe, consider it only as a template or a guide, but let your taste buds and preferences really guide the direction that you take with using this delicious weed. I really love the use of my Pumpkin Seed-Fennel Dukkah as a topper to this salad, I think the flavors are really complementary and add some great crunch to the tender leaves.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions, and let me know if you try my recipes. I love hearing from you!
Wishing you a relaxing weekend, full of delicious food, health & wellness.
Ingredients: (note - use organic whenever possible)
4 C purslane leaves & tender stems
3/4 C cooked quinoa
6 dates, pitted & thinly sliced
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 t lemon juice
1/4 t sea salt, or more, to taste
Wash the purslane in cool water, gently dry in a clean cotton dishcloth. Place the leaves and tender stems into a mixing bowl. Add the quinoa and dates. In a small bowl, whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Pour the vinaigrette over the purslane and toss gently to coat.
Place the salad into a serving bowl. Sprinkle the Dukkah on top of the purslane mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve immediately.
recipe yields 3-4 servings
leftovers do not keep well - enjoy the salad freshly tossed!