How to Cook Purslane

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You can use purslane in place of watercress, which has a similar flavor.
You can use purslane in place of watercress, which has a similar flavor. (Image: tpzijl/iStock/Getty Images)

The edible leaves of the often overlooked purslane (Portulaca oleracea) bring crunch, texture and a citrus and peppery flavor to different dishes. You can eat it raw in salads, sauteed with other greens or combined with meats and fish to add a little tang. While most gardeners consider wild purslane to be a weed, this flavorful plant makes its way to upscale restaurant menus as well as home kitchens.

Things You'll Need

  • White or apple cider vinegar
  • Paper towels
  • Cucumber
  • Nori
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pan
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Leafy greens
  • Salt and pepper
  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Butter
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Seasonings
  • Whole fish

Salad Preparation

Rinse the purslane in a bowl of hot tap water. Add a capful of distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to the water.

Pull the purslane leaves from the stems and combine them in a bowl with sliced cucumber and strips of nori in a ratio of 1 part purslane to 2 parts cucumber, and the nori to taste.

Season the purslane and cucumber with rice vinegar and sesame oil to taste. Top with sesame seeds, if you wish.

Side Dish Preparation

Rinse the purslane in a bowl of hot tap water to which you've added a capful of distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Dry the purslane on paper towels.

Drizzle a little olive oil into a hot pan. Saute some chopped garlic until it turns a light golden color. Add several handfuls of leafy greens and purslane.

Wilt down the greens, tossing them in the oil and garlic until they reduce in size by one-half. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Entree Preparation

Rinse the purslane in a bowl of hot tap water to which you've added a capful of distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and add breadcrumbs until the mixture becomes thick and pasty. Combine the purslane into the stuffing, and add garlic and seasonings to taste.

Fill the open cavity of a whole fish with the stuffing mixture. Bake in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven until the fish is lightly browned and cooked through. Fish to use include trout, tilapia, halibut or orange roughy.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use only the leaves of the purslane. While the stems are technically edible, they are tough.
  • Mix and match purslane with different combinations of vegetables and meats. Try adding it to regular dishes that you cook to add a lemony, peppery flavor. Try a purslane and shrimp salad, or cooked purslane served with lamb and Mediterranean seasonings.
  • Always rinse the purslane before eating and cooking with it. Purslane is typically foraged or found in farmer's markets, and can be gritty if not washed first.

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