Saturday, August 29, 2009
Purslane Salad (Semizotu Salatası)
Purslane is a wild, edible, succulent weed that is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. The nutritional richness of this vegetable was not known to me until recently, when I read an article about its nutritional facts. It tastes a little sour and kind of salty and with gooey substance inside its green leaves which are small and clustered around its pinkish stem. Purslane is perfect for culinary uses prior to blooming flowers. It is usually picked from gardens where it grows wild.
Since I was very little girl, purslane was always on the menu in the summers as a side dish, usually in the form of ‘cacık’, yogurt with purslane and garlic. Turkish cooks use purslane for salads, cacık, sauté (similar to spinach) and even soups. I have not had the chance to experiment with different recipes of purslane, however my two favorites are: purslane salad and cacık with purslane.
This purslane was purchased from the Greek farmer at the farmer’s market and this summer was the first time I came across purslane. I had never seen it in the States previously, although when I walk, I see some tiny purslanes coming out of cracks in the sidewalks! If I had a garden, I would be all set for purslane…
1 bunch purslane (about 3 ½ cups when chopped up)
2 green onions (sliced thinly)
1 medium tomato (diced)
1 small green pepper or half of a long pepper (sliced thinly)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp sumac
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white vinegar
Remove and discard the thick stems of the purslane. Choose and cut the fresher stems about an inch in length. If some of the purslane is blooming, remove that portion. Wash thoroughly and drain. Place in a salad bowl. Add the tomatoes, the green peppers, salt, sumac, cayenne, olive oil and vinegar. Toss and serve.