Categories: Salads

Purslane a.k.a. Per-Per

The first time my mother mentioned ‘per- per’ to me, I had no idea what she was talking about. She explained that it was a type of green that grew wild, and that her mother (my Nanny – and Nanny’s Armenian lady friends) would gather as much per – per as possible when it was in season. Per-per is a low-trailing plant with yellow flowers that grows with reckless abandon. These women, with their radar-like senses, knew just where to find it.

Purslane
(Image from plant.photos.net)

Mom said per – per was mostly prepared as a salad or quickly sautéed it in olive oil with garlic, but warned that overcooking made it somewhat slimy.

What does purslane taste like? Mom said its taste is similar to spinach, with an herbal, lemony tang.  Personally, I wouldn’t know.



What Mom didn’t tell me was that purslane contains Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and is a good source of Vitamins A and C – plus a bunch of other nutrients. Who knew?

Don’t rush to your local grocery store to find purslane. You’re better off going to a farmer’s market or looking in a garden center where they sell potted flowers, herbs and vegetables – or if you find a packet of seeds (available on the internet), you can grow your own. It needs full sun, is generally drought tolerant and isn’t fussy about the soil’s condition.



Here’s a simple salad using purslane.

Purslane (Per – Per) Salad


1 medium tomato, chopped


1 medium seedless cucumber, peeled, chopped


2 cups purslane leaves, gently, but thoroughly, washed; pat dry


2 cups lettuce (your choice), washed, cut into bit-sized pieces


½ cup Italian parsley, chopped


3 scallions, chopped



Place all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Dressing:


Juice of one lemon


3 Tbsp. olive oil


2 tsp. ground sumac, optional


Salt and pepper to taste



Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together. Toss with the salad. Serve with pita chips, if desired.




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