In The Weeds - Purslane

[Posted by Ruth]

It's not every day that you can point to some weeds by the roadside while walking the dog and tell your family, "See that?  That's what we're having for dinner tonight."  Thanks to our farm share keeping things interesting, that's exactly what I got to do last night.

We got a bunch of Purslane in our boxes yesterday and I was really interested to try it out.  If you google Purslane, you'll find that while considered a weed in this country it is cultivated as a food in others, like India.  Purslane is high in Omega III fatty acid, more than any other leafy plant, and very good for you.  But....how would it taste?

I first tasted both the leaves and tender stems raw.  The stems are quite flavorful, with an almost salty taste and the leaves have a fresh, green taste.  The salty, slightly bitter aspect seemed like it would blend well with some garlic and ricotta, so we had it in a pie.  We all liked it.  This one is definitely a keeper, so I guess I'll have to start foraging for Purslane!  Please note, if you decide to look for it, don't take if from along the roadside or anywhere where it may have been exposed to chemicals.

Purslane Ricotta Pie

1 bunch Purslane, leaves and tender stems roughly chopped (this worked out to be about 2 1/2 to 3 cups, chopped)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 T Olive Oil
16 oz Ricotta Cheese
3 eggs
2-3 T grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1 unbaked Pie Crust
You can use your favorite recipe, a store bought crust, or this Olive Oil Crust which is what I used to keep things a bit more healthy.  You can also use this Butter Pie Crust recipe if you're feeling like something richer.

Preheat oven to 375.

Line a pie pan with the pastry of your choice.  I used an 8 inch, deep dish pan for this.  It should fit in a standard 9 inch pan as well.

Heat olive oil in pan and gently saute the purslane and garlic until tender and slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.  Let cool slightly.

In a separate bowl, combine the ricotta and eggs and stir until fully incorporated.  Fold in the purslane mixture and blend well.  Add salt and plenty of pepper to taste.

Brush a small amount of olive oil over the surface of the pie crust and put the purslane/ricotta mixture on top.  Smooth over the surface.  Sprinkle the grated Parmesan on top and bake until set in the middle.  For the 8 inch deep dish this took 50 minutes.