Thursday, July 12, 2012
See that beautiful photograph below of my vegetable garden in the morning sun. Notice all those perfect lettuces in the foreground? Well, go a little closer. All is not as it seems.
A lot of those gorgeous patches of green are not lettuce at all. Or any other kind of green we planted. Those would be weeds.
Happily, they aren’t just any weeds. Our lovely, much-enriched loam turns out to be the perfect breeding ground for purslane. It’s everywhere. (yup, grows like a weed) For a long time I didn’t realize what it was, and spent my mornings ripping it up, only to have it come back just as quickly, spreading it’s little succulent leaves beneath my lettuces, zucchini and tomatoes.
I don’t quite remember when I figured it out. I was probably looking at a perfect photograph in a Martha Stewart magazine or something when the light went off.
If you’ve never had it, purslane is a low growing plant. The oval shaped, succulent leaves are firm and even a bit crunchy. The taste is very ‘green.’ Not spicy like cress or arugula, but sweet and almost grassy tasting. You know, healthy.
Since the taste is not that strong, I tend to add it to dishes that need some color and/or texture. Bean salads for instance, or a frittata.
One of my favorite ways to use purslane in the summer is to add it to raw tomatoes and toss it with some pasta. No cheese, just some fruity olive oil and maybe a hint of garlic.
Light and fast and barely any cooking involved. With the added bonus of having ridden my garden of some weeds.
I mean purslane.
Pasta with Tomatoes and Purslane
1/2 kilo / 1 pound pasta
3 large tomatoes
2 cups purslane leafs
1/3 cup olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, chop up the tomatoes. Add the purslane, olive oil and garlic. Add salt to taste.
When pasta is done, drain and add to tomato mixture. Toss to mix and adjust for salt. Serve warm, or at room temperature.