Purslane & Calendula Salad

July 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Portulaca oleracea, with it’s broad shoulders and long body, has inhabited my culinary fantasies since the very second I observed it unearthing itself at the feet of the towering Brandywines.

I’m not sure you’ll think I’m sane when I tell you that I was more than extactic upon the discovery of purslane (Portulaca oleracea) in my garden. Purslane is a weed attracted to rich soil & humidity. Its deep tap root provides extra moisture and nutrients to the plants that have the pleasure of neighboring it & contains more omega-3 (alpha-linolenic) fatty acids than any other leafy green vegetable! According to the Journal of American College Nutrition, 1 cup of purslane has 300 to 400 mg of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA ), not to be confused with linoleic acid. That means that purslane is about 35% ALA. Compare that to flax seed which is 55%, hemp seed which is 20% & soy beans which are only 8% & I think you may understand my slightly ridiculous excitement?

But I know what you’re thinking… “Okay, she has really lost it, she thinks I’m going to eat a weed. That’s funny”.

Would it change your mind if I tell you that purslane sells for almost $13 dollars a pound at health & specialty food stores, or that top chefs use it as a bed for only the most decadent entrees? Trust me, this stuff is good. Plus, I’m not telling you to lay down in the dirt & nibble it like a rabbit would- now that would be funny.

Purslane with calendula, an edible flower known for its healing properties.

In this recipe, purslane’s lemony flavor pairs well with the mild addition of calendula petals & sweet Sungold tomatoes. Sungolds are an exquisitely bright orange heirloom cherry tomato (found at any farmer’s market in mid to late July) that easily put all other cherry tomatoes to shame. I picked my first dozen Sungolds today & felt I needed to share them with you. Here is the outcome:

Note: the egg yokes should be mainly liquid after soft boiling, this serves as a dressing for the salad.

Purslane & Calendula Salad (serves 2)

2-3 cups purslane, ripped into bite size pieces,  2 large eggs, very softly boiled,  1 pint of Sungold tomatoes, cut in half,  1/4 cup calendula petals (about 5 flowers),  1/4 cup fresh sage,  freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt & black pepper

Bring water to a rolling boil in a small sauce pan. Add eggs gently, being careful not to crack them & cook for 6 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl of cold water large enough to submerge both eggs completely. After 6 minutes remove the eggs from the boiling water & gently crack them. Be extra vigilant, cracking them only slightly to allow cold water to move between the shell & the meat of the egg. Submerge the cracked eggs into the cold water. Let them sit for 5 minutes, then peel.

Mix the eggs, purslane, petals & tomatoes, then toss.  Add half of the sage, a quick squeeze of lemon juice, salt & pepper. Toss again. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving garnish with the rest of the chopped sage & Thai basil flowers (if available).

This salad is savory so I served this with a simple potato salad, but it would be delightful with a piece of freshly baked bread to soak up the egg. Also, if you are into bacon (from Pat’s Pastured of course), I think it might just be a great addition to this salad.

Devour.

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