For the last few years my garden weeding routine has included the pulling up of a thick-stemmed ground cover plant with little yellow flowers that takes over the pathways around the garden beds. It’s pretty actually, but to the gardening books it’s considered a weed. What a lot of these books don’t tell you is that purslane, the “weed” in question, is being sold at farmers markets to chefs for $7 a pound. Not only is it edible, something like crunchy, not-as-spicy watercress, but it is packed with vitamins, minerals, and even Omega 3. In Mexico it is cultivated, between rows of corn in cornfields. Called “verdolaga” in Spanish, it is used in many dishes, in salads, or cooked with braised pork.
So, this year I decided to just let it grow, and my garden stepping stones are now surrounded by a blanket of green purslane, which so loves the room to spread it has happily crowded out the crab grass. I can make a salad in my hands with it, some Thai basil and Sun Gold tomatoes. The following purslane salad recipe comes from my Mexican friend Arturo Vargas, who chopped up the leaves (discarded the thick stems) and tossed them in with some cucumber, tomato, jalapeño, lemon juice, and salt. We at the salad for lunch alongside some quesadillas. Cool, crispy, and refreshing.
If you too are incorporating purslane into your cooking, please let us know in the comments how you are using it.
Especially good served with grilled seafood.
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeds removed and discarded, then chopped
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1 bunch purslane, thick stems removed, leaves chopped, resulting in about 1/2 cup chopped purslane
- 1 minced seeded jalapeno chile pepper
- 2-3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl. Salt to taste.