food Program

Purslane and Potato Salad with Dill and Piment d’Espelette

Contributed by Megan Saynisch, from the Real Food Right Now series.

Purslane and potatoes are naturals together – the green’s succulent, tart, lemony qualities are a great foil for starchy potatoes. I prefer to use fingerling potatoes or Yukon golds when I make potato salad (especially mayo-less potato salad, as this one is), but you could also use red-skinned potatoes. Admittedly, this recipe has a few ingredients that may be a bit difficult to find: as we discussed above, you probably won’t find purslane in your local grocery store, so you’ll have to do a bit of farmers’ market sleuthing (or foraging) to find some. And a word about piment d’Espelette: this is a spice made from ground, dried Espelette peppers, especially prized in Basque cuisine. It’s just barely spicy, with a sweet-smokey quality that tastes delightful with potatoes, especially. Piment d’Espelette can be a bit…spendy (and hard to find), so you can easily substitute smoked paprika, sweet paprika or cayenne (just go easy on the cayenne), or a combination. I was lucky enough to find an Espelette seedling last year, and so was able to grow, dry and grind my own Piment d’Espelette, a spice that I’ve come to love in the kitchen.

Ingredients
1 lb. fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and halved (or quartered if very large)
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons mild vinegar, such as apple cider or white-wine
13 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 12 lemon
14 teaspoon (or more, to taste) piment d’espelette 
3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 cup purslane leaves (reserve stems for another use)

Directions
Put the potatoes in a large, heavy saucepan and just barely cover with water (the water should come up no more than 1⁄2 inch above the potatoes). Add a large pinch of kosher salt to the potatoes and turn the heat up to high. 

When boiling, reduce to a high simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart (when you pierce them with the tip of a knife you will meet no resistance). Cooking time will vary greatly with the kind of potato you use and how large they are. Start checking after about 10 minutes and keep a close eye on them to avoid mushy potatoes. 

Carefully drain the potatoes in a large colander. Put the colander (with the potatoes in it) back over the pot the potatoes were cooked in and drizzle with the vinegar. Let the potatoes sit in the colander for 15-20 minutes to allow steam to escape, and to cool. 

Meanwile, make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, the lemon juice, the piment d’espelette, the dill and a large pinch of kosher salt. Set aside. 

To make the salad: in a large serving bowl, add the cooled potatoes and gently toss with the dressing (I usually just use my hands). Taste and correct for salt: at this point, I usually add quite a bit more salt – don’t be afraid, potatoes need a lot of salt! Gently toss in the purslane leaves. Serve immediately.

 
Learn more about purslane in Megan's full post on Ecocentric Blog.