Friday, June 25, 2010

Purslane Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Shareholders Steve and Zoe in love ... with strawberries

Here's what Farmer John had for us in Silver Lake this week:

Navel oranges
Daikon radish
Russian kale
Red chard
Dandelion greens
Squash blossoms
Garlic chives
Mixed herbs

And here's what Tara brought down from McGrath Family Farm, certified organic growers in Camarillo:

Haricot verts
Red chard
Spring onions
Baby arugula
Dandelion greens
Mixed lettuces
Baby summer squash

Purslane has a reputation for being a somewhat ubiquitous weed that's easy to grow, but ironically many people have never heard of it, and even fewer have tasted it. It's a delightful green with a bright, lemony flavor akin to sorrel. It can be eaten raw or cooked; and it's lovely simply thrown into a green or mixed salad.

Here's a simple dish using several of this week's vegetables plus a few more that you might have growing in your garden or can pick up from your local farmer's market. It only takes a few minutes to whip up this light and delicious salad.

Purslane Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

1 bunch purslane
1 large heirloom tomato
2 Persian cucumbers
1/2 small red onion
1-2 small ripe avocado
1/2 C loosely packed chopped Italian parsley
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
2-3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-2 T red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash, dry, and pull the leaves off the purslane. Place in a bowl. Compost the stems.

2. Wash, dry, and coarsely chop the heirloom tomato and place in the bowl with the purslane.

3. Wash, dry, and halve lengthwise the Persian cucumbers, then chop crosswise in 1/4inch slices and add to the bowl.

4. Thinly slice lengthwise half of a small red onion. Then cut the slices in half (or thirds) crosswise and add to the bowl.

5. Halve the avocado(s) lengthwise. Remove the pit(s). Cut the flesh of each half lengthwise and crosswise into medium dice and scoop out from the skin and into the bowl.

6. Add the chopped parsley to the bowl.

7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

8. In a separate small bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients until well-combined to make the lemon vinaigrette. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss, and correct the seasoning, if necessary.

This salad is also very nice with the addition of chopped fresh mint. Another variation to consider is adding a little minced fresh garlic to the lemon vinaigrette.



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