One person’s weed is another person’ dinner. Purslane grows amok in Greece and the other nations that surround the Mediterranean. This succulent can be found growing in gardens, roadside and yes, even at the farmer’s markets. In Greece, purslane is often made into a salad (or a salad component), stewed or simply added as a garnish.
I don’t remember purslane growing here in Toronto until recently and my suspicion is that it started sprouting up after the city banned pesticide use to kill weeds as part of lawncare. I never thought it would come to this but…gee thanks David Miller (former Mayor of Toronto). So, I see purslane growing among potted plants, herbs and in the corners of our lawn.
Purlsane can creep into your garden, all to the more reason to pick it for eating. Traditionally purslane was used to treat liver ailments, liver ailments, headaches and shortness of breath. Purslane is also high in omega-3 fatty acids which are believed to protect against heart attacks ans strenghthen the immune system. Purslane is also loaded with vitamin C and beta-carotene and there’s a tart flavour to the bite.
I’m not re-inventing Tzatziki here nor am I the first to offer this twist with purslane. I offer this dish as an alternative to the traditional Tzatziki. Tzatziki is made of strained yogurt, garlic, grated cucumber, olive oil and either lemon or vinegar with chopped dill ( or mint) to round out the dish. Subtract the grated cucumber and add the purslane.
Remember, purslane has a tart flavour and therefore you won’t need as much lemon juice or vinegar as with the old’ skool Tzatziki. If you have purslane in your garden try this version of Tzatziki – you won’t have to grate the cucumber nor squeeze the water out of it either. Look for purslane in your garden and try it out in a salad or make this Tzatziki the next time you’re having Greek night.
Tzatziki is a Greek condiment (we call it a salad) that’s often served as part of array of mezes or an accompaniment with souvlaki, grilled lamb, potatoes or fried zucchini chips. Heck, it’s great just scooping it up with pita bread or good crusty bread.
Purslane Tzatziki (Τζατζικι με Γλιστρίδα)
500 gr. of plain yogurt (full fat)
1 cup of purslane leaves and stems (choose tender, thin stems)
1-2 cloves of minced garlic (depending how garlicky you like it)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
splash of Ouzo
squeeze of lemon juice to taste
salt to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Empty your tub of yogurt into a fine mesh strainer and place a bowl or pot under it. Cover and place in the fridge overnight. You will wake up to strained “Greek-style” yogurt that ha thickened and reduced to half the volume. Empty the strained yogurt into a bowl and discard the liquid.
- Thoroughly wash your purslane and and pat-dry, then chop half of it (keeping the rest whole). Mince your garlic and add it into the yogurt along with the purslane, some salt and some olive oil. Stir with a spoon until mixed well and taste. Adjust with lemon juice, salt and more olive oil if needed. Taste again then add a splash of Ouzo and the chopped fresh dill and mix again. Cover and store in the fridge until needed.
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