It was not long after my move to Phoenix that Brian and I bought a home. We were so young, we had so many ideas, so many ambitions, so much enthusiasm, and yet we had no clue about so many things. The climate and style of living in the southwest is much different from that of New Jersey; so needless to say we had a big learning curve.
We held our own. Painting each room, demoing odd cabinetry and shelves, changing out light fixtures with a few phone calls to my dad (he was an electrician when I was a little girl), but when it came to gardening we really knew nothing. We tried to grow a few things, killed a couple of plants on accident, and did lots of weeding. A year or two later we were at the downtown farmer’s market and I noticed something odd. One of the venders was selling the same greens we were weeding and trying to get rid of in our yard. I questioned the farmer about them and she explained that it was Verdolaga, or also known as Purselane.
It is an edible succulent that grows annually. The farmer explained that it has a similar taste to spinach, and in many Mexican homes it is not uncommon to cook it quickly with onions and tomatoes. I purchased some and tried it out that week. (I couldn’t make use the ones growing in our back yard because we used a weed killer on them and no longer had any.) It turns out that we loved it. The green did have a very similar flavor to that of spinach, but it had a much nicer texture to it. I tried making it with so many things, but simply with some eggs is by far my favorite. At a farmer’s market here in Seattle I found the Verdolaga, aka: Purselane again. I was so happy; I really thought it was just a southwest thing that I would not come across living here in the Pacific Northwest. So the other night for dinner I prepared it in our favorite most simple way possible. Just sautéed -with onion and a bit of olive oil. Serve it alongside a sunny side up egg and your favorite salsa. You will be amazed at the brightness of the flavors and simplicity of it all. If you come across some Verdolaga or Purselane anytime soon. Give it a try. I only wish I wasn’t trying to kill it all that time, I could have been enjoying it with eggs on a regular basis.
Sautéed Verdolaga aka: Purselane (Serves 2-4)
1 bunch of Verdolaga; washed well, trimmed, and a roughly chopped
1 small onion, sliced thin
2 – 4 tbsp of olive oil
Sea Salt and black pepper to taste
Eggs (1 or 2 per person)
First; take a large, heavy bottomed sauté pan (about 10 inches) and place it over medium heat. Once heated through add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and warm it slightly. Add in your onion and gently sauté for about 5 minutes.
Next; once your onions are translucent and a bit golden on the edges add in your Verdolaga. You want to gently stir it all together. You are looking for the greens to begin to wilt. Add a bit of sea salt and black pepper and stir again. When the greens are evenly wilted you can remove from the heat and set aside.
Then; place a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add in your remainder of olive oil and heat though. Crack your eggs and gently add them to the pan. You want to let the eggs sizzle until the edges are slightly golden and the whites are set and cooked though; while your yolk will still jiggle, and then remove from heat. (*Note: depending on how many eggs you are cooking you might need to use more olive oil, adding more as you cook each egg.)
Finally; place a bit of your Verdolaga and onions in your plate and alongside place your cooked eggs. Top it with your favorite salsa and along with some potatoes or warmed tortillas and enjoy.