Saturday, July 05, 2008

Weed feed: sauteed purslane with bacon

Whoever came up with that "death and taxes" saying forgot to include weeds. Like battleship sailors who start painting at the bow, work their way to the stern, then start all over again, I could weed from one end of my yard to the other, but I would never be done.
But as I mentioned earlier, my bumper crop of purslane, at least, can be treated as just that, a crop. Inspired by doggybloggy's helpful video, I did some weeding today with the salad spinner handy.

Prepping the purslane is time-consuming and fussy. But hey, it's free food, so just go with it. You need to wash it, wash it, and wash it some more. It's a prostrate plant and you've pulled it out by the roots, so there's a lot of dirt there.

Then you need to strip it, grasping the thick stem and pulling off the leaves. The little stems and branches are OK to leave in, but the thick main stem and roots are bitter. Here's what I ended up with, leaves and small stems on the right, big stems and roots on the left. Note the bindweed that tried to sneak in. Damn stuff is insidious.
Then I washed it some more in a big bowl of water, turning it around and around to make sure I'd gotten out all the stray bits of grass and small roots (which are pink, thus easy to spot).

Finally, it was ready to cook. I cut up some slices of bacon and cooked those first, then added the purslane with a generous squeeze of lemon juice and sauteed it over medium heat for about 15 minutes, until it was thoroughly soft and tasted done.

I served it over bowtie pasta.
It tasted green, with a little tang, and it tasted like bacon. It tasted good. I'm not sure it really worked with the pasta; I'm thinking maybe polenta would be better, or as a side dish with mashed potatoes.

The huge amount I prepared worked out to two or three servings. I found out at the last minute that the fireworks party I was going to was a potluck, so I didn't eat much. I saved the rest for dinner tomorrow.

What did I take to the potluck? The only portable food I had handy: Cokes and a bag of Pirate's Booty.


  1. nice job...they look exactly like their tangy purslane goodness should...

  2. We don't have this weed in our yard, though we seem to have tons of others! Unfortunately the previous owners had a lawn service, so I'm not so sure I want to eat anything that's growing in the grass, at least for a while.

  3. Thanks, db!

    Andrea, I'd be leery, too. This stuff I know hasn't been sprayed.

  4. Hi, I came over to your blog from CulinaryColorado. Wow, I am almost certain that I have scads of purslane growing in my yard. Can't wait to check it out. Thanks for the great info and inspiration.

  5. Hi Laura, thanks for stopping by! It's definitely a small redeeming feature. The stuff is everywhere.

  6. Have you tried it as a salad ingredient? In the middle east it's served as a salad with tomatoes and cucumbers, dressed with lemon juice and olive oil and a little garlic.