When I was a little girl, one of the funnest things about Springtime was collecting verdolagas. Verdolagas is an herb called purselane in English and grows wild here in Los Angeles. We’d usually find it in the grass, cracks in sidewalks and sometimes growing in the most random of places. I’d pluck them right of the ground roots and all, put them in a bag till I had the bag full, then take them to my grandmother. She’d wash them thoroughly and then make amazing dishes out of this incredible vegetable. It’s a little like a succulent, somewhat tangy and absolutely delicious. Sometimes I’d nibble on the washed leaves and stems while she’d prepare the rest.
As an adult, I rarely see verdolagas growing in the streets anymore. Maybe it is just that I am busy, busy, busy and have no time to look for them or maybe there are ruthless child foragers like I used to be and they beat me to them. In any event, the local market carries them every spring so it makes it easy for me to have this wonderful vegetable of my youth.
I read a little bit about verdolagas on the internet the other day as I was preparing them. I never realized it,but this little weed packs a powerful nutritional punch. According to the interwebs, it has the most Omega-3 of any vegetable! That made me happy to know and feel even better about preparing this old favorite for my grandchildren.
One of the things I remember my grandmother preparing was carne de puerco con chile colorado (pork with red chile sauce). Pork is the perfect accompaniment to vergolagas and they compliment each other well. First, you cube the pork (you want a nice pork shoulder with lots of fat on it) and then cook at low heat in a heavy cast iron pot till the fat renders out and it is crispy. It takes a long time but if you rush it and cook at too high a heat, you simply don’t get the right texture. That crispy, long-cooked pork really makes this dish and this is a one-pot, family meal that goes from stove to table easily.
*All photos were taken using the marvelous #Nokia #Icon on the #Verizon network. I was not compensated for this post, I’m just really loving the camera and will give credit where it is due.