Purslane Salad with Hot Bacon Vinaigrette and Garlic Croutons | CUESA

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Purslane Salad with Hot Bacon Vinaigrette and Garlic Croutons

Source:

Connie Green and Sarah Scott, authors of The Wild Table: Seasonal Foraged Food and Recipes (Studio, 2010)

This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on June 4, 2011.

This salad has absolutely everything going for it: flavor, price, omega-3, weeding.  With smoky bacon, garlic, and the crunch of the purslane, it’s simply scrumptious.  With the deliciousness comes the bonus of frugality.  In the late spring you’ll begin to see wild and free purslane in vacant lots, gardens and farmland.  The rampant beast that purslane can become still has small tender clusters of leaves at the tips in late May.  Harvest some of this succulent green and head right back for more tender tips as they grow back with weedy restlessness.     

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4 to 6
5 strips applewood smoked bacon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup cubed ciabatta-style bread (½-inch cubes)
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon plus a pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 medium shallots, finely minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 ½ tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon sugar
1 pound purslane, tips and larger leaves only (5 to 6 cups loosely packed), cleaned

PREPARATION
1.  Position rack in the center of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 350º.  Place the bacon in a cold sauté pan over medium heat.  Slowly cook the bacon until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes, turning once.  Remove the bacon with tongs or a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined baking sheet.  Take 1 teaspoon of the bacon fat and put it in a small bowl.  Leave the remaining bacon fat in the pan to finish the salad.  (There should be about 2 tablespoons.) Slice the bacon strips into ¼-inch pieces. Set aside.

2.  Whisk 1 tablespoon of the oil into the bacon fat in the bowl.  Add the bread cubes, tossing to coat evenly with the oil and bacon fat.  Season with ¼ teaspoon of the salt and the pinch of pepper.  Spread the bread in a single layer on another baking sheet and bake until crisp and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3.  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the bacon fat in the sauté pan and place over medium heat.  When the fat mixture is hot but not smoking, add the shallots and garlic and cook until tender and softened, 3 to 4 minutes.  Whisk in the vinegar, mustard, sugar, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper.  When the mixture is hot and bubbling, add the purslane. Stir quickly to coat the greens evenly with the dressing and just warm them.  This should take no more than 30 seconds, or the purslane will start to lose its fresh, tender crunch.  Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with some of the bacon and croutons. Serve immediately.

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CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of farmers markets and educational programs. Learn More »