Last Saturday at the farmers market, I saw a new (to me) vegetable: purslane. I’d heard of it a few times before, but only vaguely. I sampled a leaf and really liked the flavor: raw purslane has a pleasant crunch, not unlike the pod of a sugar snap pea. Its flavor is mild and spinach-like, but with a tart, lemony note; almost a milder sorrel. It was tasty and I’m a sucker for anything new or unusual; I had to pick it up.
I asked the guys selling it what to do with it and they said it could be eaten raw in salads or cooked and used like spinach in most recipes. When I got home I started looking online for recipes. I found several recipes for a Mexican pork and purslane stew that sounded good, but it’s not stew weather. I found a few recipes for traditional mayo-based potato salad with purslane and a few mentions of purslane in lettuce salads. (I did try it in a lettuce salad; it’s a welcome addition. Both the crunch and the zip are nice.)
I didn’t find anything quite to my liking, so I decided to just wing it. I had some purple fingerling potatoes and spring knob onions from the same farmers market and I thought lemon would work well with the purslane. I tossed everything together and was really pleased with how it turned out. This recipe will definitely be made again. Oh yeah, and it’s really good for you. Purslane has a lot of omega-3 fatty acids and the salad is really low in fat. (I love when good food just happens to be good for you.)
I’ve made this both with and without olive oil and like it quite a bit both ways. I probably have a slight preference for “with”, but if you’re counting calories, you can definitely leave it out.
The purple potatoes definitely look great in this salad, but you could easily use normal yellow fingerlings or even small red potatoes.
1/2 lb purslane (untrimmed weight)
1 lb fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/4″ coins
3 spring knob onions (bulbs and greens), thinly sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp capers
juice and zest of half a lemon
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil (optional)
Trim the purslane by removing any thick stalks and cutting or snapping thin stems and leaves into 1-2″ pieces. Toss purslane, onions, capers and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl.
Boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes, until tender, but still keeping their shape. Drain the potatoes. Add the potatoes, salt, lemon juice and olive oil (if using) to the purslane and toss well.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
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