From a young age my son, Kobe, has joined me on foraging trips. When he was in kindergarten we would leave the house at 7.30 am and pick for an hour before I dropped him off. Purslane is one of his favourite plants because it has a mild flavour and juicy leaves. He’d go off to kinder and tell his friends about what he’d picked with Dad — I’m hoping my children will have a greater appreciation for the natural world through these brief interactions that are a part of their lives.
Purslane has a very tasty stalk. I devised this dish in the late summer/early autumn when the plants were at their largest and going to seed. This dish highlights an often overlooked part of most plants — the stalk, stem or branch. It’s so common to just discard these parts of most vegetables but, in fact, for the curious cook looking for a different texture or flavour, these are often the most interesting elements to utilise. Parsley stalks are also excellent prepared in this manner — simply increase the cooking time.
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to the boil. Blanch the purslane stalks for 15 seconds. Drain, then dress with the salt and oil.
Place 5 small dots of the white miso on each plate. Place a piece of leek on each of the dots. Place 2 pieces of cucumber on each plate. Place 2 small teaspoons of the egg yolk on each of the dishes. Sprinkle the spiced pumpkin seeds over the yolk. Add the pear and scatter the purslane tips and stalks around the plates. Dress with the pickling juice from the cucumbers.
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