Once I decided that purslane was probably our most reliable summer green, I began to explore ideas to use it, besides tossing it to the chickens. Food and Wine posted a splendid recipe by chef Alain Coumont. He was my inspiration for this soup, although he would only vaguely recognize the influence in my final rendition.
I pureed all the ingredients of this soup for two reasons. One is that you tend to eat more green veggies if they are pureed. They go down easily. The second reason is that we have two little guys who will eat almost anything that is creamed and tasty. They do not question much about where the green comes from. Alleluia!
Alain serves his soup chilled and I’m sure that this would be wonderful chilled as well. Up to this point we have enjoyed it warm and at room temperature. If you are experiencing a steamy hot summer, do chill it first.
Purslane Soup Ingredients
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, medium dice
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 cups purslane leaves, washed
3 pounds of young zucchini, no longer than five inches each, washed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoon shredded fresh basil
4 cups rich broth (chicken broth recommended)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons thickener of choice (e.g. potato flour, tapioca flour)
Salt and pepper to taste
Purslane Soup Steps
Heat the oil in a medium-sized soup pot over a medium flame. Be careful with the heat. You do not want the olive oil to reach its smoke point. You could use an oil with a higher smoke point, but the extra-virgin olive oil is a noticeable contributor to the flavor of this delicate soup.
Saute the onion and garlic in the oil for a minute or two until they begin to release their aroma. Add the sliced zucchini. Salt and pepper to taste.
Toss the vegetables to coat the zucchini slices with oil and with the flavor from the garlic and onion.
Continue to cook until the zucchini is soft. Add the shreds of basil and purslane. Cook another couple of minutes, stirring the vegetables often. Do not allow them to brown.
Place the vegetables in a food processor or blender and puree.
If the broth is not already hot, heat it in the pot where the zucchini was cooked. When I make a recipe like this, I have broth ready in the crock pot, steaming hot. All I have to to is transfer the broth to the soup pot. It is really time saving.
Pour the pureed vegetables back into the soup pot with the hot broth. Stir.
Mix the thickener with the cream and slowly add to the soup, mixing the whole time. Cook over low heat for about three minutes for the soup to thicken. If the soup is too thick for you, thin it down with more cream or broth.
Taste for salt and pepper and make adjustments. You might also want to put in a bit more basil. Alain garnishes his soup with thin curls of zucchini and small purslane leaves for a nice touch.