My Favorite Weed

August 15, 2015



I love this crisp, juicy, slightly lemony green – and I was thrilled to find it at the farmer's market today.

To my mind purslane makes every salad taste better – simply wash it well (the leaves tend to cling to dirt, so don't be careless about this), and strip the leaves right into the bowl alongside your garden-variety salad greens.  It makes terrific tacos, quickly steamed,  stirred into a quick green salsa and topped with queso fresco.  Steamed and mixed with tomatoes and olives, it makes a fine Moroccan salad. 

But today, I think, I'm going to mix it into a cucumber and tomato salad with a very lemony vinaigrette.

Begin by peeling, seeding and dicing a few cucumbers until you have about 2 cups.  Dice a pound or so of tomatoes, until you have an equal amount.  Add some chopped scallions or a half of a diced red onion, and a cup and a half of coarsely chopped purslane leaves. 

Now stir in a cup of chopped Italian parsley and then mix it all with a lemony vinaigrette (2 tablespoons of lemon juice whisked into 3 tablespoons of olive oil, along with salt and pepper). If I have the time, I think I'll add a few whole pieces of lemon as well, although peeling lemon sections can be annoyingly time-consuming.

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  • D says:

    My favorite too! Had some this weekend mixed with baby spinach and parsley, tossed with olive oil and ‘celtic’ cider vinegar from Brittany. Here in Paris it can be hard to find – I scooped up the last handfuls out of the vendor’s box at the market.

  • Ruth Reichl says:

    Hi Jennifer, I’m kind of amazed that there is a Paris vendor selling pourpier. When I was on a farm in Italy and asked if I could take some of the huge heaps of purslane they were throwing out, they all laughed uproariously. “Only for pigs!” they said.
    It made me sad; I’d never seen so much purslane in a single place before.

  • I’ve just started harvesting volunteer purslane from my balcony herb boxes. I love it in a mixed green salad. Will try just tomato and cucumber with lemon next – as I can’t consume them fast enough…
    Never underestimate the bounty of an Italian summer, an Irpinian summer!
    Dear Ruth – A former twenty year resident of the Hollywood Hills, I have followed you for years (well before Twitter) and read most of your memoirs. Tender At the Bone was an early inspiration. Going out on a huge limb here – may I query you for an early endorsement for The Ghosts of Italy?