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Purslane. My new addiction.
I am mad for the citrussy-peppery tang and endless versatility of this delicious succulent. I love it best eaten raw (but it is equally tasty when lightly steamed, pickled, sautéed, stewed …), and when you’re done tossing those faintly waxy leaves into your salads, save the thicker stems as they will reward you with a wonderfully healthy soup.
But praise must also be given to purslane’s extraordinary nutritional content. The fact that it contains more Omega-3 fatty acids than most fish oils and certainly more than any other leafy vegetable plant must surely prick up your ears. It is also chock full of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, enough to make this a true superfood and more than worthy contender for your meal time plate.
If all that doesn’t have you rushing to the nearest farmers market (or to the woods to forage for your own), you should also know that purslane is ridiculously cheap to buy and enjoys a lengthy season that ranges from early summer until the first frost. Once you’ve found your source you’ll find supplies are plentiful — you can thank a weed-like, invasive tenacity for that. A very good reason not to install it in your own garden!
This salad is a nourishing bowl full of textures and flavors. A mildly astringent lemony dressing complements the leaves themselves, blueberries add a little sweetness, bacon lends saltiness, radishes add extra crunch and chunks of avocado provide a smooth and gentle contrast to your forkful. Eat it as a gutsy lunch for two, or as a delicious accompaniment to broiled white fish and roast chicken. And don’t forget burgers, which is what I most often serve it with.
- For the salad:
- 8 slices bacon
- ½ lb purslane (larger stalks removed)
- ¾ cup blueberries
- 3 oz radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 large avocado, chopped
- For the dressing:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp golden balsamic vinegar
- Good pinch sea salt
- Put the bacon slices onto a large baking tray and broil for 8 mins or so until nice and crispy. Transfer onto a plate lined with absorbent kitchen paper and allow to cool and harden.
- Put the other salad ingredients into a large bowl.
- Crunch the bacon slices between your finger tips and allow the crispy shards to fall over the salad.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together, add to the salad and toss well.