Pass the weeds, please

| 17 Aug 2012 | 02:21

By Lori Marrie When purslane first appeared in my farm share, I admit I was puzzled and just a bit apprehensive. Amidst the freshly dug potatoes, bunches of ruby radishes and neat bundle of chives was an unfamiliar, unruly pile of greens. I was clueless, but after a sample and a quick botany lesson by the farm staff, I set out, determined to transform this bag of weeds into dinner.

It turns out purslane is just that – a weed. Chances are you’ve seen it growing alongside the road or on your lawn. The entire plant is edible from the thick, pinkish stem to the succulent dark green paddle- shaped leaves. It’s crunchy and juicy when eaten raw, has a slightly sour flavor with peppery overtones reminiscent of watercress, but its nutritional profile sets it apart. Purslane has more heart healthy alpha-linoleic acid than any other leafy vegetable. This is edible landscaping at its culinary best. The red skinned potatoes harvested that morning demanded immediate cooking (if you haven’t eaten just-dug-potatoes, you need to). Keep their tender skins intact and simmer until just slightly firm. The combination of coarsely chopped purslane and creamy tubers creates an earthy potato salad with a unique texture – a match that could only be made in the black dirt. Toss with a citrus based dressing of lemon juice, zest, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Add thin slices of radish for crunch and bite, snips of chives and a tablespoon or two of capers. This is no ordinary potato salad. In the days that followed I craved more purslane. I nibbled on handfuls for snack and sautéed the remainder in garlic and oil for dinner. I’m definitely hooked on this weed.