Purslane Salad

“Just try it” she said “It is not at all bitter.  If fact it has a subtle peppery taste!” My friend was telling me this as I was looking at the expanse of green leafy weeds that were piled high on the seller’s table. What I think are weeds are commonly known as Horta. Most of them are bitter, and usually found by foraging on the side of a mountain. I have tried different varieties at various times, chocking it up to experience, my unaccustomed pallet disliking bitter lukewarm boiled lawnmower clippings. So contrary to my instinct, trusting my friends advice, I walked home with a whole bag full of weeds. In reality I did not get real Horta, but something known as Purslane. (And yes, purslane is considered an invasive weed.)  Crunchy, salty, peppery and with a hint of lemon, purslane is very edible and believe it or not, very high in omega 3 fatty acids (if you can believe Wikipedia). I am hooked, I have been eating purslane all summer in every conceivable form. Here is a simple recipe for a great late summer salad.

What you need:

  • 1 bunch of purslane
  • 1 good sized handful of arugula (rocket)
  • 1 handful of basil leaves
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 green onion (optional)
  • 1 tsp pickled capers
  • 4 or 5 marinated olives
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (more if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • Pinch of black pepper

How it’s done:

  • Wash all your greens and pat dry with a towel.
  • Rough chop all your greens.
  • Chop your tomatoes to desired size.
  • Dice your onion.
  • Place your greens, tomatoes, and olives in a serving bowl and toss gently.
  • Place your sesame seeds in a small frying pan and gently toast with no oil, until golden and giving off a nice aroma. Set aside.
  • Place your lemon juice, honey, olive oil, mustard, and pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk vigorously until you have incorporated all your ingredients into a uniform dressing, adding more oil if needed. (You could use a blender if you like.)
  • Toss the salad with the dressing, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with a nice loaf of crusty bread to mop up all the juices.
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