A simple salad of wild purslane (verdolagas), tomatoes and feta is something I keep on hand, half prepped and ready to go pretty regularly during the late spring and early summer when purslane is in season.
It’s inspired by traditional preparations for purslane in the Mediterranean and the Caucuses, where purslane is often cooked and served cool as a salad.
The only really noticeable difference between the salad here, and most traditional cooked purslane salads I’ve made and read about, is that I like to blanch my purslane before dressing with oil and seasonings, whereas most of the traditional salads made with the plant, at least that I can find, call for cooking it in the pan and seasoning it without blanching beforehand.
Blanching serves a couple purposes here: ensuring that the purslane is evenly tender, and, more importantly, calming it’s flavor a little and smoothing it out. I’ve made salads of simply sauteed or braised purslane, and, they’re ok, but I prefer it blanched. If the purslane is not blanched beforehand, the sour flavor it often has will be more noticeable, and, from my experience, most people, especially people that are new to eating purslane, will prefer the blanched version.
After blanching, I roughly chop the purslane into pieces that are easy to pick up with a fork or spoon, but I make sure to still leave plenty of character so I can see what I’m eating. After the purslane is prepped, I mix it with some finely diced fresh tomatoes, herbs, oil and lemon, finishing it with a couple handfuls of feta cheese in a nod to the Mediterranean where purslane is widely appreciated as a food.
Purslane Salad with Tomatoes, Herbs and Feta Cheese
- 10 oz fresh purslane
- 1 fresh lemon for it's juice and zest
- 3 Tablespoons high quaiity salad oil, or to taste such as extra virgin olive oil, or Smudes virgin sunflower oil
- Kosher salt to taste
- Fresh tender herbs, roughly chopped such as mint, cilantro, dill, or basil, to taste
- 6 oz 1 medium ripe, high quality tomato
- Harvest the purslane, leaving any very thick or dirty stems in the field. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the purslane for 60 seconds, or until it's barely tender and tastes good to you, then remove to a tray to cool naturally.
- Drain the purslane well, then put on a cutting board in a mass, and cut it with a chefs knife or similar into rough 1-inch segments.
- Dice the tomato into ¼ inch cubes, or roughly chop.
- Mix the purslane with the tomato and remaining ingredients to taste. Taste and adjust the seasoning for salt, pepper, lemon juice and zest, herbs and oil, adjust as needed until it tastes good to you, then serve. This is a great thing to serve at room temperature or cool when it’s hot outside.