Thursday, July 10, 2008


I am lucky to know a handful of people that subscribe to CSAs and share their bounty with me. A few weeks back I got a bunch of purslane from urban farmers Stacey and Bernie, of beautiful roses fame.

Unsure what to do with the weedy looking veggie, I surfed interwebs and learned it can be eaten raw or cooked. So I chomped a bunch. Reader, raw it tasted just like it looked: lawn clippings, the likes of which would make any grazing ruminant happy. So I decided to blanch it to see if that would tame a bit of its weediness. For good measure I chopped and threw in a lemon cucumber I had bought on a whim at the farmer's market, just because it was so pretty. And as we all know, the whole point of farmer's markets is to get you to buy lots of vegetables that will molder in your fridge try new things. Since the purslane had a very lemony taste I thought it would all work together. (Turns out lemon cucumbers taste nothing like lemons.)

I washed the purslane, gave it a rough chop, then blanched it quickly. I mixed up an olive oil/lemon juice/minced garlic/salt/pepper dressing and tossed it all with some chunks of aforementioned lemon cucumber, which once chopped seems no different than any other cucumber. The verdict? Not awful, but not especially good.

Thinking that time might help the purslane pick up some of the dressing flavors I packed some to bring for lunch the next day. I don't know if it was the purslane or the lemon cucumber but something was emitting those long drooly slime strands like okra does. Reader gah. The word for this: mucilaginous . It's the purslane apparently. I finished it because I don't like to waste food but it was not my happiest culinary experience.

But! You haven't seen the last of me, purslane. Despite being a highly invasive weed, you're supposed to be some kind of nutritional powerhouse, packed with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Perhaps these recipes, prepared by someone who has a forking clue what they're doing, will be tastier.


Anonymous said...

OMG, I almost called you when we tried the purslane to see if you had a similar experience...I sauteed it with olive oil and salt and may have also added some lemon juice, and we, too, got a hint of that slime factor in the resulting dish. It wasn't tasty enough for me to try again anytime soon, but do tell if your next adventure with it is more successful!


Professional Critic said...

Ha! Well, you know what they say, mucilage loves company. I would try it again but maybe raw this time, perhaps that would tame the slime factor?