The idea of writing about purslane was given to me by another blogger (thanx Keith!) when he posted a link on the subject on his blog. It reminded me immediately how this plant is still today part of the traditional Portuguese cuisine and, of course, I couldn't resist writing about it. I even found a period recipe about it.
Portulaca Oleracea (purslane in English, beldroeags in Portuguese) has it's origins as a weed, like almost every eatable plant. It originally comes from the far east and was slowly introduced in the Euro-Asian region as humans started to roam the earth and even was (still is?) harvested in places such as Europe and Middle East
It has a similar taste as lettuce but much stronger. Used in salads, stews and soups, it has also a medicinal purpose for treating liver, blather and kidney diseases and because it has a high content in vitamin C it is also used against scurvy, amongst other illnesses.
You can read more about it through these link:
Purslane used for a green sauce according to “Cozinheiro Moderno ou a Nova Arte de Cozinhar” (The Modern Cook or a New Way to Cook) by Lucas Rigaud , one of the chefs in the Portuguse Royal Kitchens, ed. 1807, chapter XXIV, page 342*:
«Another green sauce, but cold»
«Mash in a mortar chervil, pimpernel, tarragon, mint, purslane, chives, according to their strength (probably means flavor); once mashed dilute everything with olive oil, half of a chopped garlic clove, salt, pepper, a drop of water, vinegar, two small spoons of mustard; mix everything and having it a good flavor put it in a sauce bowl.»
And a more modern and popular take on the use of purslane:
Separate the purslane leaves form the stems and poach them in boiling water.
Chop 1 clove of garlic and golden it in the olive oil. Add the purslane and the water and when it starts boiling add the cheese. Be aware that the cheese is already salty.
Peel the potatoes, cut them into slices and add them to the soup. Let it boil until the potatoes are soft and at the end add the eggs and let them poach for an instant. It is ready to serve.
Purslane soup, photo taken from blog "Receitas do Mercado" (see link above).
*This book you can download as a pdf from the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal website or go directly to: