Think spinach is good for you? Try purslane! Purslane, one of the world’s most common weeds, contains more omega-3 fatty acids (normally found mostly in fish and flax seeds) than any other leafy vegetable and is high in vitamins A, C and B, as well as magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron.
Purslane by many names is eaten all over the world, from France to Asia. Just one of the many kinds of wild greens gathered in Greece, Turkey and Lebanon, purslane is sauteed with garlic and olive oil, chopped up in yogurt, baked into pies like spanakopita, or served as a salad. In Russia, the tangy, fleshy leaves add a little zing to potato salads. Known in Mexico as verdolagas, it is often stewed with pork and tomatillos.
Out in my garden pulling weeds last week, I harvested in a healthy armload of purslane. You’ll find it at many farmers’ markets here in New Mexico. If you don’t see it, ask a farmer if they might bring some next week – or check your own backyard.
These tasty little pies are a cross between Greek spanakopita and Lebanese purslane pies, made with what I happened to have on hand. To season the pies, I used lemon thyme I planted this year, which adds a wonderful floral note—regular thyme also works. I’m lazy when it comes to baked goods, so I used store-bought piecrust to contain the delicious filling.
6 oz. purslane with tender stems, well washed and torn into 1-2 inch bits
1 small red onion, finely diced
3/4 C. feta
1/4 C. piñon nuts or chopped almonds, toasted
3 T. olive oil
6 sprigs of thyme (or lemon thyme)
Juice of half a lemon
1 t. salt
Fresh ground pepper
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Roll out piecrusts and cut each in half. Pile filling on one side of each half and fold over to seal (makes four pies). Bake at 450º for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned.
Blogger Amy White is totally obsessed with vegetables and fruits. Amy can be found every Friday right here, and on her blog, www.veggieobsession.blogspot.com .