Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Purslane Potato Salad

I did a little happy dance when I finally found purslane at the Farmers Market this weekend! (My kids thought I was insane; Well, I am, but that's another post entirely).

My wonderful and always-knowledgeable friend Froggy got me turned onto the stuff. OK, he grew some last summer and even though I never got to sample his gardening skills, he impressed me with the nutritional benefits and all, so I'd been dying to try it!

First of all, yes, I know, I know... purslane is a weed! The most common weed in the United States in fact. It supposedly grows EVERYWHERE from Alaska to Death Valley! But evidently not in MY back yard. Yet.
Weed or not, it's suddenly cropping up in upscale restaurants, trendy markets and produce stands - another new "Superfood" if you will. (Excellent post here by fellow blogger Bazu on Superfood trends - love it, LOVE it!!)

Anyway. I digress.

Purslane has been eaten as a vegetable and used as a medicinal herb in many other countries for centuries. It's not a "new" food, folks!

A couple historical notes I found interesting (because I'm such a foodie-history-geek that way):

-- In England in the seventeenth century, the cooks of Charles II were required to add its leaves to all salads to help the king with his well known digestive ailments.

-- An 18th century pharmacology list from Scotland recommends it "...to cool heat in the liver and be excellent for hot agues, all paines in the head, want of sleep or the frenzy, haemorrhages and to ward off evil."

-- The ancient Greek physician and botanist Dioscorides recognized its medicinal powers as anti-inflammatory and analgesic as well as soothing to the digestion. He also is quoted as saying that "it reduces the desire to fornicate". Hmmmmmm....

OK, besides all that utterly FASCINATING information - we now know purslane is high in essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, pectin (known to lower cholesterol), fiber, antioxidants (protection from free radicals that damage & destroy healthy cells), and coenzyme Q10. To name a few.

Pretty good stuff, huh?

So what does it taste like? I guess like slightly "lemony" spinach, but not as tangy as online reports seemed to indicate it would be.
We really liked it raw, though there's a lot of recipes for cooking it too. I wonder if the nutritional benefits would diminish if cooked? No matter, I had a ton of ideas for using it, but ended up putting it in a basic potato salad.
Even though the picture looks like potato goo, trust me, it was incredible! I won't want potato salad any other way from now on!

Purslane Potato Salad

4 large Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
1 cup of Vegannaise
1 cup celery, sliced thin
1/2 red onion, diced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I don't like "yellow" potato salad so I use less!)
6 radishes, sliced
1 cup coarsely chopped purslane, leaves and tender stems
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
Peel (often I don't peel them) , cube, and boil potatoes until soft and fork tender.
Drain and let cool. Put potatoes in a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.
Mix well, taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.

Chill and serve. The flavors blend and taste best if chilled over night.


Johanna3 said...

looks great!

Allie said...

WOW! i had no idea purslane could be eaten! my sister-in-law bought me a beautiful plant of it for mother's day that hangs proudly on my back porch. are they all edible? mine has such beautiful flowers i'm almost nervous to eat it!

The Veggie Cookster said...

That looks soooooooo good! :)

Veg-a-Nut said...

Oh my gosh! We have that growing in our lawn, our garden, everywhere. Pesty little stuff. Shoot didn't know you could eat it? Weird, Maybe I will have to taste it and see what I think.

By the way, your ooey gooey potato salad looks good!

KleoPatra said...

Bazu is so brilliant. i love her blog!!!

And you know, purslane does rhyme with insane!! Lemony spinach? Not related to Lemony Snicket, i assume...

Lovely po salad, FOTM. Super good recipe. And thanx for the history lesson. i'm a fellow foodie-history-geek myself! Thanks for this post.

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

awesome info! and yr potato salad looks amazing.

bazu said...

Ahhhh- a new superfood I haven't tried! lol. I have heard a lot about purslane, and that potato salad looks so marvelous, I just have to keep my eye out for this. I know that this and borage and nigella and...are a lot more commonly consumed in Europe than here, but hopefully we can change that!

LisaJean119 said...

So you're like the 10th person to say vegenaise instead of that nasoya...is it really good? or better?

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

I like Vegenaise 37364536 times better than Nasoya. Some people like Nasoya better though...

I think it's like the people who have a strong preference between Miracle Whip and Mayo. (I can't remember which one I preferred, it's been too long, and I rarely ever used the stuff anyway - it weirded me out 'cause I never liked eggs much.) All I know is I MUCH prefer Vegenaise.

I use the "grape-seed-oil" version of Vegenaise BTW. I think it has an even better flavor than the regular.

scorpiatrix said...

I am laughing SO HARD right now! I had just sent an e-mail to all my raw and health-conscious friends, and I started by saying "I was ecstatic to find lambsquarters and purslane at the UCI Farmers Market last Saturday." Ha-ha. I just had a green smoothie with a bunch of purslane and about a cup of bing cherries, some VitaMineral Green and a couple Tbs. of hemp seed. Yum! Now that I've learned about the high Omegas in the purslane, I am ecstatic once again! Just for the record, my daughter thinks I'm insane as well!

Thanks for the laugh,