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purslane(for Rich)

I found where I had shared this with our Master Gardener friends.  I hope this

Something Tasty? Just Look Down

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Published: July 5, 2006
PURSLANE'S rosy tendrils creep over the sun-baked lawns and sidewalks in
suburb and city, profusely sprouting small green tear-shaped leaves from the
start of summer to the chill of autumn. Unlike many other weeds, though, it is
also likely to be found at local farmers' markets now.

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Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times
Purslane is eaten around the world.

Recipe: Russian Potato Salad With Dill and Purslane (July 5, 2006)
Recipe: Greek Island Chickpea Salad With Purslane and Arugula (July 5, 2006)
Readers Opinions
Forum: Cooking and Recipes

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times
Purslane nestles into a salad with chickpeas and arugula.

Cultivated, purslane grows in about 40 varieties, identified by leaf size and
color, stem length, and whether it crawls or grows upright. "The good stuff
starts coming in July," said Alex Paffenroth, of Paffenroth Gardens in
Warwick, N.Y., who sells his purslane at the Union Square Greenmarket on
Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Purslane is a succulent. Bite into its smooth fat leaves and you get a burst
of tangy, almost sour juice that's refreshing with summer food  potato salad,
tuna salad (or tartare)  or tucked in with a burger.

From Provence to Greece, Turkey to Kuala Lumpur, Mexico to Galilee, purslane
is gathered in the wild and sold at local farmers' markets under many names.

In Mexico and California, verdolaga is eaten with pork and tomatillos; at the
Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco, Steve Sando, owner of Rancho
Gordo New World Specialty Food in Napa, tucks a few whole stems into his big
fat carnitas and tomatillo tamal. Farmers in Provence sell pourpier in wild
mesclun. In Greece, little old ladies forage from field to field hunting
glistrida, and in Turkey semizotu is mixed with garlicky yogurt and chopped
into fetching salads with ripe tomatoes. In Galilee I was told that "regelah"
was delicious in salads  regelah being Hebrew for foot, since purslane is a
plant typically found right at your feet. A Russian imigri shared a recipe for
portulak in zesty potato salad.

On a trip to Malaysia I found gelang pasir eaten raw, dipped into spicy
fish-chili paste, or cut up into nasi ulam, a turmeric-tinted rice salad.
Purslane makes Lebanon's classic tabbouleh and fattoush even zippier. In Sri
Lanka it's stir-fried with chilies and fish, while suberi-hiyu is pickled in
Japanese villages, to eat in the winter, alongside rice.

The food writer Paula Wolfert says that purslane is pickled in the republic of
Georgia, too. "Purslane is added to the traditional break-the-fast soup,
harira, when Ramadan falls during purslane season in Morocco," Ms. Wolfert
wrote in a recent exchange of e-mails, "while home cooks in Gaziantep, Turkey,
dry purslane. When rehydrated it is even more potently delicious."

Australian Aborigines and American Indians have always eaten wild purslane;
Chinese medicine uses it for treatments, and, Ms. Wolfert wrote, "Purslane was
Gandhi's favorite food."

Some complain that purslane can be, well, a tad slimy. And it can be a
challenge to chew the stems, though some love them the most. Sotiris
Kitrilakis, owner of Mt. Vikos Cheese, importers of artisanal Greek cheeses;
an expert on Greek foods; and a friend, lives on the island of Zakynthos,
where purslane is eaten stems and all with fresh dill and green onions,
sprinkled with salt and good red wine vinegar. "The acid counteracts any
sliminess," he said.

Its degree of sourness can be controlled by when it's picked, according to
Aylin Oney Tan, a food writer for the newspaper Cumhuriyet in Turkey.
"Purslane is more sour in the morning," Ms. Tan said, "but as the day
progresses, and it has absorbed the sunlight, it gets sweeter."

Many of New York's chefs love purslane's unique appeal. Jean Frangois Bruel,
executive chef at Daniel, serves tufts of it, dressed in nut vinaigrette,
adorning terrines, pbtis and sautied foie gras. At Savoy, Peter Hoffman serves
tomato and purslane salad with a strong herb dressing. "Since purslane has a
nice tang," Mr. Hoffman said, "the dressing doesn't need to be too tart."

At Thomas Keller's Per Se, golden purslane is served in its infancy as a
micro-green, dressed with olive oil, vinegar and salt. (At Per Se's lyrical
California sibling, the French Laundry, the baby purslane is green rather than

Ethan Kostbar, the chef at Rose Water in Park Slope, Brooklyn, used purslane
last year and is ready for this season: "One of the dishes I plan to serve is
a summer salad of purslane  leaves only  with nectarines, red onions,
boucheron goat cheese, burnet leaves and heirloom tomatoes, dressed in ginger
and honey vinaigrette."

In addition to tastiness, there is another reason to eat purslane. Research
has shown it to be high in many vitamins and antioxidants. In some of the
first medical research on purslane, Dr. Artemis P. Simopoulos wrote in The New
England Journal of Medicine in 1986 that it has remarkably high levels of
alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 essential fatty acid) for something that's
not a fish. Since then, purslane has been found to have high amounts of
melatonin and other beneficial nutrients.

Once picked, purslane doesn't stay perky for long. Keep it in a jar in a cool
place with its stems in a small amount of cold water, and plan on using it
within a day or two.

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