Spring keeps showing it’s tells – the flashes of colour from flowers, warm sun in sheltered spots, and yet, and yet – it’s still teasing us.
When it comes to eating healthful meals, I know I’m not quite ready for salad season to begin. I still need some bone-warming comfort foods to see me through the day.
The other day I happened upon winter purslane and wow! It’s a slightly strange beast, but utterly delicious. Kind of spinachy, yet not as tough. Kind of watercress-like but with a curious mild flavour. Watery, yet firm. Juicy.
I thought I’d investigate further and then create a recipe that’s quick, clean, lean, and packs a nutritional punch.
Winter Purslane, miners lettuce, or Claytonia Perfoliata (spring beauty, miner’s lettuce, winter purslane, or Indian lettuce; syn. Montia perfoliata) can be grown before the sun warms the soil – in fact, it can be grown all year round. Used raw in salads, (or it can be steamed – personally that seems like a waste to me, so delicious is it raw) it is rich in vitamin C, essential for growth and repair in your body.
To grow, you sew the seeds in August for harvest November to March, so it’s one I’ve noted for my winter sowing this year!
To eat, you could pair it with so much, it’s a truly versatile leaf. In this case, I wanted to create a comforting, quick-to-prepare quinoa ‘stew’ flavoured with garlic and the greener part of the leek. With jewel-like gratings of sweet potato to add depth, and pumpkin seeds to add a crunch and omega-3 boost, Here’s my recipe (pictured)
Warm early spring quinoa salad (serves 2)
Large portion of winter purslane, washed carefully and dried
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 dessert spoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard (I prefer french)
2/3 mug quinoa
1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon (or cook with homemade vegetable stock if you have some)
Half sweet potato, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
3″ green part of leek, finely chopped
Teaspoon coconut oil
Generous sprinkling pumpkin seeds
Carefully wash the winter purslane, and divide between two bowls. Whisk up the dressing ingredients, and coat the purslane in it.
Rinse the quinoa, and then place in a pan with double the amount of water. Bring to the boil on a medium heat, then add the grated sweet potato simmer gently until the water has boiled away (about 10-15 mins).
While this is cooking, in a frying pan, gently fry the leek in some coconut oil, adding the garlic 5 minutes into cooking. You’re looking for the leek to be softened, rather than browned.
Once they’re both cooked, mix the quinoa and the garlic leeks together, and throw in a handful of pumpkin seeds.
Sit, savour the flavours and enjoy, knowing that warmer weather is on the way.