Sunday, September 22, 2019

Weedy Green Salsa

It's that time of the year when the tomatillos are ripe and ready to use in my favorite fall recipe: salsa verde. The original recipe I've used for years was given to me by my dear friend Lindsay MacDonald, and I have it in one of my homemade family cookbooks as "Lindsay's Green Salsa". I've made many variations over the years, and this year I decided to give it a weedy twist.

Ever since I found out that purselane contains Omega 3, I've tried to think of new ways to add it to our diet, especially as our child has become vegan and all the family meals we cook at home are now vegetarian. As it has a lemony flavor, I thought I'd add it to this year's salsa verde. I like to buy my tomatillos from the Maya in Exile Garden at the UBC Farmer's market. The Mayan gardeners harvest the purslane, which grows as a weed on the farm in disturbed soil. Conventional farmers blast this weed with herbicides, when it's likely more nutritious than the food plants they are growing for sale.

I love the slow ritual of asking for the tomatillos and then watching the farmer put them in his homemade scale to measure them. Another customer disturbs my zen by peppering the farmer with questions, thrusting vegetables in front of me to demand how much they cost. He has two whiny children in tow who are just as pushy and demanding. I wish folks would just chill out and wait their turn.

 I take a walk around the farm and soak up the sights of the ripening fruits and vegetables. A team of farm workers laugh and toss squash to each other and load them up on the wagon with colourful baskets. Bumblebees work the dahlias and the zinnias, or just take some extra time to sleep in until the air temperature warms up a little. I head back to the market to pick up a beautiful bouquet of fall flowers with snowberries and amaranth added for seasonal texture.

 I head to Virtuous Pie for my lunch and order the seasonal "street corn" pizza. It's so delicious I immediately try to think how we could recreated the flavors of a Mexican roadside roasted corn stand at home.

For the recipe I used garlic and walking onions grown in my own garden, but you can use regular white onions, or whatever you've got on hand. Simply put the cleaned and chopped ingredients in a food processor and blend to the desired texture. If you like cilantro, you can add 1/2 a cup or more.

1 lb tomatillos
1 cup chopped purslane
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c chopped onions
4 cloves garlic
juice of one lime
4 seeded jalapeno peppers

This salsa is great in soups and stews and you can use it as a condiment for anything that appeals. I hope you are enjoying this wonderful harvest season!

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