A great recipe from EatRx Advisor and Master Chef, John Ash – perfect for spring!
Many people think purslane is a weed and pull it out of the garden. Some purchase at the Farmer’s Market. Also known as “verdolagas” – it is a popular vegetable in Latin America.
This is a beautifully green soup in which you can make all kinds of substitutions such as broccoli for some or all the peas, watercress or spinach for some or all of the romaine and basil, dill or tarragon for some or all of the mint. The purslane adds and interesting crunchy lemony note and it’s a garden weed that can be foraged when it’s young and tender. This is a recipe from John Ash’s Cooking Wild collection.
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped green onions including green tops
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
3 cups fresh or thawed frozen sweet peas (about 12 ounces)
2 cups defatted chicken or shellfish stock
1-1/2 packed cups finely chopped romaine or other green lettuce
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2/3 cup buttermilk, preferably labeled “Bulgarian” style
Drops of lemon juice and your favorite hot sauce, to taste
1 cup tender purslane leaves and stems
1/4 cup or so crème fraîche
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a deep saucepan, add the green onions and garlic and sauté over moderate heat until softened but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the peas and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until peas are cooked through and tender. Remove from heat to cool for a few minutes. Add mixture to a blender and puree. Add romaine and mint and puree again until smooth. Add buttermilk and whiz again till combined. Season to your taste with salt, drops of lemon juice and hot pepper sauce. Strain through a medium mesh strainer and chill. Taste again for seasoning since chilling mutes flavor a bit.
Toss the purslane with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and season with a little salt. Ladle soup into flat soup plates and top with purslane and squiggles of crème fraîche. Soup can be made up to a day ahead and stored covered in the refrigerator. Note: If using fresh peas, you may want to add a little sugar depending on their maturity.
More about the Chef
Visit John Ash’s website: https://chefjohnash.com
Cooking Wild: More than 150 Recipes for Eating Close to Nature by John Ash
Nutrition facts for purslane.
Purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular) than any other leafy vegetable. Studies have found that purslane has 0.01 mg/g of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It also contains vitamins (mainly vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), vitamin B, carotenoids), and dietary minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron.
Also present are two types of betalain alkaloid pigments, the reddish betacyanins (visible in the coloration of the stems) and the yellow betaxanthins (noticeable in the flowers and in the slight yellowish cast of the leaves). Both of these pigment types are potent antioxidants and have been found to have antimutagenic properties in laboratory studies.
Cooked vs. raw: 100 grams of fresh purslane leaves contain 300 to 400 mg of alpha-linolenic acid. One cup (250 ml) of cooked leaves contains 90 mg of calcium, 561 mg of potassium, and more than 2,000 IUs of vitamin A.