As noted in May’s seasonal produce feature, purslane is starting to pop up everywhere. Like dandelion greens in the US, this edible weed has recently become fashionable, appearing at upmarket greengrocers and anyplace with a claim to “organic.”
As with expensive dandelion greens, smile and pass it by. Keep your eyes open – you’ll see purslane sprouting, wild and free, in a nearby empty lot or even a neglected windowbox.
Purslane makes a tremendous number of tiny black seeds that escape their pods easily, and it grows whichever way the wind blows.
Which is a good thing for us. Succulent, with a mild lemony/salty taste, purslane stems and leaves fit nicely into any salad, substitute for lettuce in sandwiches, and add superfood nutrition to stir-fries and soups. Verdolaga con queso, the traditional Mexican purslane dish, adapts perfectly to the Middle Eastern palate with a few crafty adjustments.
Choose tender new growth for this dish. Tough older stems may be set aside for pickling or for adding to soup.
Scrambled Eggs with Purslane and Feta Cheese Serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups rinsed, chopped, tender purslane – stems, leaves, and flowers if any
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large tomato, chopped coarsely
chopped fresh hot pepper to taste
1/2 cup feta cheese, cubed
4 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and black pepper
2 pita breads, halved
Sauté the onion in the olive till golden. Add the minced garlic; stir 1 minute. Stir in the chopped tomato and chili. Cook 5 minutes over medium heat or until the tomatoes soften.
Have ready your beaten eggs, but add feta cheese to the pan first. Stir it in to distribute, then add the eggs. Scramble the eggs loosely in the vegetable/cheese mixture. Season to taste.
Spoon into the pockets of warm pitas that have been cut in half.
More about superfoods both wild and cultivated on Green Prophet:
Photo of windowbox purslane by Miriam Kresh