Deanna’s been talking weeds lately, so I thought I’d continue the theme with one of my favorite weeds, purslane. Purslane is unique among weeds in that it lacks the bitterness typically associated with many of the common weeds we eat, like dandelion and dock or plantain. Especially so at this time of year; by summer, most of the yard greens are mature and stringy, woody, or gone to seed. Purslane is just coming into its own in the summertime, though, at least in zone 8.
Purslane has a high water content that gives it a lovely crispiness and tenderness. Very mild in flavor, it goes well in salads, and would make a good substitute for watercress in tea sandwiches.
Always on the prowl for combinations of things that are ripe at the same time in my garden, I put together a very simple combination of purslane, cucumber, and arugula. Purslane and the cucumber act as a cooling counterpoint to the spicy arugula and the tang of the lemon.
With a light dressing of good olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon basil, salt and pepper, this salad is ready to go. Make it a main dish with some beans or peas and rice or heritage grain, or grilled meat or seafood.
Purslane Cucumber Summer Salad
serves up to 4 as a side dish, 2 with a protein as a main dish
small bunch each purslane and arugula, torn in bite-sized pieces
1 cucumber, chunky dice
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh lemon basil, or any basil or 3/4 teaspoon dried
drizzle olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
Toss everything together with the oil and lemon juice just before serving.