“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.