Savory Purslane and Feta Pies

My latest recipe for

Think spinach is good for you? Try purslane! It contains more omega-3 fatty acids (normally found mostly in fish and flax seeds) than any other leafy vegetable. It is high in vitamin A, C and B, as well as magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron. Just one of the many kinds wild greens gathered in Greece, Turkey and Lebanon, purslane is sauteed with garlic and olive oil, chopped up in yogurt, baked into pies like spanakopita, or served as a salad. In Russia, its tangy, fleshy leaves add a little zing to potato salads. Known in Mexico as verdolagas, it is often stewed with pork and tomatillos. Purslane by many names is eaten all over the world, from France to Asia. You can find it at many farmers' markets, and if you don't see it, just ask a farmer if they might be able to bring some next week, because... guess what? It's one of the world's most common weeds, and there may even be some growing in your own yard!

I was out in my garden pulling weeds last week and came in with a healthy armload of purslane - I couldn't let this great stuff go to waste! These tasty little pies are sort of a cross between Greek spanakopita and Lebanese purslane pies, made with what I happened to have on hand. Lemon thyme, which I just planted this year, adds a wonderful floral note, but regular thyme would be great too. I am very lazy when it comes to baked goods, so I just used store-bought pie crust to contain the delicious filling.

6 oz. purslane with tender stems, well washed and torn into 1-2 inch bits
1 medium red onion, finely diced
3/4 cup feta
1/4 cup pine nuts or chopped almonds, toasted
3 T. olive oil
6 sprigs of thyme (or lemon thyme)
Juice of half a lemon
1 t. salt
freshly ground pepper
2 pie crusts

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Roll out pie crusts and cut each one in half. Pile filling on one side of each half and fold over to seal (makes four pies). Bake at 450F for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned.


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