When I leave the office every day, I make a detour through the veggie room picking up some corn or tomatoes or berries. Whatever looks good. Thursday I found purslane bundles in the refrigerated case. I’d never heard of it. A brief research told me that it is a weed often used as a vegetable. After trying it in potato salad, I’m a new fan. It also made a great addition to a tossed green salad with its crunchy, sort of spicy flavor.

“Common in our yards but little known in the North American kitchen, purslane is both delicious and exceptionally nutritious. is the most frequently reported “weed” species in the world. It can grow anywhere that has at least a two-month growing season. Purslane is somewhat crunchy and has a slight lemony taste. Some people liken it to watercress or spinach, and it can substitute for spinach in many recipes. Young, raw leaves and stems are tender and are good in salads and sandwiches. They can also be lightly steamed or stir-fried. ” Mother Earth News, April/May 2005, by Frances Robinson. Purslane is also good for you. It tops the list of plants high in vitamin E and an essential omega-3 fatty acid.. Purslane provides six times more vitamin E than spinach and seven times more beta carotene than carrots. It’s also rich in vitamin C, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium and phosphorus.

What’s not to like!

Potato Salad with Purslane

Ingredients

3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
4 plum tomatoes
1/4 pound purslane
1 large cucumber—peeled, halved the long way, seeded and cut into half-moons
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, (more or less depending on tastes)
1/2 cup chopped mint

Vinaigrette of choice*

  1. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until just tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large shallow bowl.

  2. Season with salt and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Allow to cool. Layer the onions over the potatoes, followed by the purslane, cucumber, tomato, red pepper flakes and mint. Just before serving, pour a bit more dressing over the salad and toss well.

    *My Favorite Vinaigrette

    1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
    1 tablespoon sherry vinegar*
    1-1/2 teaspoons coarse Dijon mustard
    1/3 cup grapeseed oil**
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    ¼ teaspoon sugar
    Salt and pepper

    Place all ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously.

    * Or raspberry vinegar or seasoned rice vinegar
    ** I like grapeseed oil for salad dressings and cooking It is light and nearly tasteless with a high smoking point when sauteing with it.