If you see a purslane growing in your backyard and you root it to toss that succulent-leaf vegetable away, think again. What is considered as a weed here is actually a tasty summer green very common in eastern Mediterranean region.
Once it is introduced to your garden, it may be hard to get rid of it. But, why bother? Every time you “weed” you can make this tasty salad? If you need more convincing, let’s look at a web article where they talk about the health benefits of purslane:
Not only does purslane have leaves in Omega-3 fatty acid, but it also has stems high in vitamin C. Omega-3 fatty acids are instrumental in regulating our metabolism. Purslane contains one of the highest known concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids—five times the concentration in spinach.
OK, I assume now you are sold on this green. ;)
I had to introduce it to our backyard as I was not lucky enough to have them growing by themselves. Thanks to a friend who has sent the seeds, now I have them growing all over the yard. They like rich soil, plenty of sunshine and can withstand drought.
This salad also uses another unusual ingredient: sumac. Again, unusual for non-Middle Easterns. To my surprise sumac is known to be poisonous in the U.S. whereas we seem to not get enough of it in Turkey. Sure enough they are different varieties, so do not go out to field to collect some but go to a nearest Middle Eastern store to buy a little package. It is sold as a coarse powder in dark red color. We will be using it in this recipe to give sour taste to the salad.
Now the recipe (here I will be using a cup measure, just to give a better estimates but when measuring make sure to fill the cup loosely)
- 1.5 – 2 cups purslane leaves (if tender, not only used the leaves, but also the thin stems)
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced thinly (less than a cup)
- 1 Tbs sumac
- 1/2 Tbs salt
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut in cubes to make about 1 cup
- 4 – 5 inches cucumber, cut in cubes (may want to discard the seeds if they are huge)
- 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
Start by cleaning the purslane by discarding the rouind, pointy bits that might be still on the stem which is full of seeds, cut the stem in an inch long. Cut the tomato and cucumber in small cubes. Cut the onion in thin slices and mix with sumac & salt, using your hands squeeze those 3 ingredients together to release some juice of the onion. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and your salad is ready!