Very excited – we have nailed this one – for ages we were trying to identify the name of a delicious salad leaf that we ate while living in Turkey some years ago. We thought it was Lamb’s Lettuce, but now after a bit of idle Googling, we discovered it is actually Winter Purslane.
Purslane isn’t that often eaten now in the UK, so it’s become something of a rarity to find on the shelves as we are tending to reach for standard Mediterranean leaves. This is a massive shame, as it is a hardy succulent leaf that is bursting with good nutritional value and full of fresh flavour in winter months.
Containing essential winter vitamins of A, B, C and E – and minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium – our earlier relatives would have regularly eaten this to ward off winter germs and keep their teeth in their heads.
It’s reputed anti-inflammatory properties also made it popular in Chinese medicine (where it’s known as Horse Tooth Amaranth).
Anyway, good stuff aside – it’s a wonderful leaf for a totally delicious Turkish side salad. We used to eat this nearly every day with fresh tomatoes and cucumber.
It was called in our village of Çiftlikköy: Semisotto – and in the days of Dial-Up, we never did find the translation from the verbal interpretation…most people told us it was a local herb and not found in the UK as we tended to find it growing wild. However, Bingo, we stumbled on a Turkish site and found it is spelled Semizotu and is our delicious Purslane.
Purslane has a slightly sour and citrussy flavour – a bit salty…so it works well with a creamier dressing – or a tangy citrus/olive oil combo. Being in Turkey, the dressing was obviously natural yoghurt and they make a stunning combination which is the easiest thing in the world to prepare:
- A good handful of Purslane
- 2 large tablespoons natural creamy yoghurt
- 1 sprig chopped mint (optional)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Seasoning – don’t be too light handed with the salt
- Sprinkle red pepper flakes (optional)
- Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Mix the yoghurt, seasoning, garlic and herbs together and gently fold into the purslane without crushing. If your yoghurt is very creamy and thick, then just gently add a little milk or water to reduce slightly. Drizzle with the olive oil and serve.
Image: Nefis Yemek Tarifleri
Sorrel takes the citrussy, slightly tangy taste a little further down the line.
We would write a full blog about Sorrel, but the wonderful blog site of Chocolate and Zucchini does a stunning job of giving you all you can possibly know about this much underused veg.
Click on the link here and see a whole host of pairings and recipes.
Come and visit us at our website