Thursday, October 25, 2007

Purslane: Hot and Steamy

Everything I read indicated that purslane becomes decidedly mucilaginous when cooked. Since I don't particularly enjoy the texture of okra (except deep fried, natch), I wasn't all that excited about this phase of the experiment. But given the nutritional advantages, and my duty to my readers, I was willing to give it a try.

I sauteed a small handful with garlic in olive oil, and it didn't turn slimy at all--and I swear I didn't leave it in the fridge till it was all dried out this time. Really! It was just nicely chewy, and had taken on a distinct citrusy flavor. It would definitely work as the main component in a side dish, particularly with fish.

Next, in the fine, age-old tradition of clean out the fridge recipes, I chopped some up and sauteed it with chopped red pepper, onion, white and crimini mushrooms, and garlic. While I was doing this, I baked some eggplants, then added the pulp, stuffed the skins, topped with cheese and breadcrumbs and baked. It was delicious, but there was so much going on I couldn't really pick out the purslane. Good news for anyone who doesn't care for citrus flavor, but would like to reap the health benefits.

My last purslane experiment was my favorite. I started with a basic risotto recipe, then added chopped purslane with the final addition of liquid. I had some roasted paste tomatoes leftover in the fridge, so I chopped a few and added them with the shaved Parmesan at the end, there was plenty of residual heat in the rice to heat the tomatoes through by the time we ate even though they were cold going in. Topped with more grated Parm and several vigorous grinds of black pepper, it was absolutely scrumptious, with a pleasant brightness. I would like to try it again with the addition of mushrooms to see how their earthiness balances with the acidity of the tomatoes and purslane.

purslane and tomato risotto

But it was delish as it was, and priiittty!

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