Photo: Courtesy of PBS Food
I love a good summer salad. But only if the ingredients and combinations are interesting. Have you ever had purslane? It’s technically categorized as a weed but oh what a delicious weed it is. This means that at farmer’s markets and Middle Eastern markets, you’ll find it for a mere 80 cents a bunch—it’s cheap! It’s a bit spicy and the texture is much thicker than you might be used to. It’s a flavorful weed that I love to add to salads. This salad is a wonderful and hearty combination of purslane leaves and cooked bulgur wheat. It’s a very loose play on a panzanella salad. The bulgur acts as the bread would, sorta.
Cherry tomatoes are bursting and the markets right now, but I see no reason why heirlooms or other varietals wouldn’t work. Herbs like mint and opal basil add a brightness that is so needed when it’s sweltering outside and all that seems attractive is a cold meal and some air conditioning.
- 1/2 cup bulgar wheat
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup opal basil leaves, torn (if you can’t find opal basil, plain ol’ basil works great!)
- 2 tablespoons minced mint (from 1/4 cup mint leaves)
- 2 cups purslane leaves, stems discarded
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 ounce ricotta salata, for garnish
- In a small saucepan, set over medium heat, combine the bulgar wheat, water, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of olive oil. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then immediately cover; cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the water has evaporated. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
- Transfer the bulgar to a medium bowl and allow to cool at room temperature, about 10 minutes. This is a good time to prep the rest of your ingredients in case you didn’t do that to start! When the bulgar has shaken off its blazing hot temperature, add the basil leaves, mint, purslane leaves and cherry tomatoes. Toss everything together until it’s thoroughly combined. Pour in two teaspoons of olive oil and the juice from 1 lemon and two pinches of salt. Toss it once last time and give it a taste test. Adjust any of those ingredients to your liking.
- Transfer to a serving bowl or just leave it in the mixing bowl—whatever! Garnish with shaved ricotta salt.
This recipe was originally posted on PBS Food.