[Recipe: Apple & Quinoa Salad with Purslane]
I’d like to go on record as a weed eater.
We hit our greenmarket and picked up a couple of previously unknown-to-us specimens. There was a certain mystery item that I can’t remember the name of, but I do remember the grower told me to eat it raw or prepare it however I like zucchini. Its circumference was that of a large zucchini, in fact, but its color was exactly Honeydew. White flesh. Mild taste. Seeds that were large like watermelon seeds, but thicker, pure white and slightly chewy.
And it was a spectacle of length and form: It was so long we halved it with a market neighbor, so long that it looped around in on itself and my girls could grasp it at the same time in the center and still have ends curling up and around on either side. (I took photos to share with you — of course I did. But we had Emmie’s camera and I’m not getting my devices to play nice.)
It’s either a summer squash, or a variety of melon. How’s that for ambivalence? The word melon came into play somewhere during the conversation — I remember that much — but I don’t know at what point or why, enamored as I was of the heady experience of picking out produce in the open air.
So: who of you can enlighten me, based on my fumbled attempt at description?
And then there was this tangled curiosity. This weed. This weed that’s not only edible, but healthful, a wild mess of Omega-3s. Allow me to introduce you to purslane.
Maybe you’re more weed-savvy than I am and you’re already well acquainted. If that’s the case, I’d love to hear what you like to do with the stuff. It tastes, well, green: earthy with a leafy, chewy succulence and peppery bite. The grower recommended tossing it willy nilly into salads or sautéing it with garlic.
This time, I chose to stir it into this autumn salad (which I created for this month’s No Croutons Required, hosted by Holler at Tinned Tomates). I think it’s a concoction that would’ve made my new grower friend proud.
Apple & Quinoa Salad with Purslane
This is marvelously simple and full of Omega-3s, protein and fiber. It’s crisp and tangy, and the cinnamon gives it a touch of complexity.
For the salad:
1 C quinoa
1 med. to large apple (go for a tart variety)
2 tbsp chopped dates
¼ C coarsely chopped walnuts
A couple handfuls of purslane, leaves pulled from stems (if you don’t find purslane, throw in some baby spinach leaves or another green you like)
For the dressing:
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tbsp white wine vinegar
Zest of one lemon
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Prepare quinoa according to package directions (don’t forget to rinse it first). When it’s cooked, put it into a medium bowl and allow to come to room temperature. While the quinoa cooks, mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Prepare the apple by slicing thinly, cutting each slice in half width-wise, if you wish. Assemble all ingredients with the quinoa, tossing lightly. Serve immediately.