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Purslane: The New 'It' Green

Recently, while buying greens at the farmers' market, I was encouraged to try purslane, which was entirely new to me. The vendor tossed some in with the spinach and mesclun in the bag.

As part of a salad, it was an interesting element. The taste was slightly lemony and astringent, though not at all bitter. Then a friend mentioned that Dr. Oz has been touting the health benefits of purslane, and I saw folks talking about it on Twitter, so I did a little research about it.

Purslane is high in omega-3 fatty acids, has more beta-carotene than spinach, and also is rich in magnesium and potassium. It grows wild, and many consider it a weed. Purslane is a succulent plant, a member of the portulaca family. It resembles a small jade plant, with reddish stems and sturdy oblong leaves. If you can't find it at your farmers' market, it's fairly easy to grow from seed.

With a flavor similar to that of arugula or watercress, purslane is a delicious and healthful addition to potato salad. Here's a simple recipe to try.

Purslane Potato Salad

6 medium red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed
2 cups washed purslane leaves
4 scallions, sliced thin


1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tbs. red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. dry tarragon
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook the potatoes with their skins on until just tender. Drain and plunge into cold water. Let cool. Peel and cut into bite-sized chunks.

Chop purslane coarsely. Add purslane and scallions to potatoes.

Mix dressing ingredients until well-blended. Pour about half over salad, letting it soak in. Add more, if needed, until it looks and tastes right. Chill before serving.

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