Lunch today was the first meal made with ingredients from this year's container garden: Chicken sandwich with mayo and homemade ketchup, purslane potato salad made with potatoes Mom canned and a tomatillo that fell off when I staked and tied the plants this morning. Ya, there's already a bite out of the sandwich; that's a habit from growing up in a house full of people with lots of boys running around who'd think nothing of re-appropriating foodstuffs. The only way I could keep my sandwich mine was to put ketchup on it so Dad didn't want it and quick-take-a-bite out of a corner so my brothers wouldn't nab it and say they didn't know it already belonged to someone. Boys are trouble, I tell ya.
Photo of purslane, CC2.5 licensed. Mine's a little branch-ier and more upright, not as dense and low-lying as the one pictured. I also trimmed mine and ate it before it got a chance to flower.
The potato salad has an unexpected addition to it. Well, unexpected if you're not from Europe I guess because purslane is allegedly a very popular green across the Atlantic. I didn't even know that the fleshy leaved, sprawling plant I had been pulling out of gardens for the last 20+ years was edible until last summer when I was looking into wild edibles other than dandelions and ramps, which I have known about and harvested regularly since I was knee-high. The best part is that I didn't even have to plant it; it volunteered where I had planted bush beans that never grew. Purslane is purportedly high in EFAs omega-3 and -6, Thiamin, Niacin, B6 and Folate, A and C, Calcium, Iron, and other dietary minerals.
The leaves taste a little tangy and vaguely citrus-y or sorrel-like and the stems have a slight bite similar to watercress. Many of the sources I've seen say it can be used in any application for which you would spinach and also that in soups it has mucilaginous properties similar to okra. It grows prodigiously so I'm sure I will have lots to work with as summer progresses. If you aren't as blessed to have purslane available for harvest as I am, the Internet tells me that in some places it is available in farmers' markets. Arugula would also make a good substitute, but would have more of a bite to it than the purslane.
Purslane Potato Salad
1 quart (4 cups) cut up and cooked potatoes, drained
2-3 cups roughly chopped purslane leaves and young stems
I didn't actually measure how much purslane I had. I just trimmed the plants to about half, washed it up, took out the bigger stems and chopped it. I'd say I had probably about 2.5-3 cups total when it was all said and done.
~1/2 cup mayonnaise + ~2 tablespoons vinegar of choice (can probably substitute olive oil and vinegar to taste if prefer)
2 tablespoons mustard or to taste (I used dijon)
~1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons Hungarian 1/2 sharp paprika, optional ( I like it and have it on hand, feel free to omit or substitute as you see fit)
4-5 small cloves pressed garlic, or to taste
ample fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
1. Prepare all ingredients for use. (drain potatoes, wash and chop purslane, press garlic, etc.)
2. Combine in bowl mayo + vinegar, mustard, onion powder, paprika, garlic
3. Mix ingredients in bowl with whisk or fork until smooth, combine with potatoes and purslane to coat evenly. More mayonnaise or oil+vinegar may be needed depending upon potatoes and personal preference.
4. Refrigerate for an hour or more to allow flavors to combine or heat and serve warm immediately.