These two beautiful greens always take me straight to summers spent in Greece, where my lovely husband first introduced me to the delights of these greens. We would puchase them at the morning market and serve them for the evening meal, outdoors in the warm summer night air, on a table under a fresh green grapevine trellis. Simply boiled and served with local olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice, they made a feast with homemade ladotyri cheese, home cured olives with plenty of lemon and rigani, rustic bread from the local baker and glasses of chilled homemade rose wine.
The vlita is best cooked. I love to use both of these summer greens to make this beautiful braised dish. It is a sort of celebratory meal for hearalding the start of summer. When braised, the greens are soft and tender and full of immune-boosting nutrients. It makes for comforting and nourishing fare - which is well followed by planning your next summer holiday to Greece.
Braised greens - vlita, purslane and zucchini in tomato
3 small zucchini, halved and sliced into inch long pieces
1 bunch of cleaned vlita, leaves picked and tough stems removed
1 bunch of cleaned purslane
2 Onions, chopped (I use one red and one brown)
2 Cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 Bay leaf
1 Cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoom of ground allspice
1 Cup of home made vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Heat a fry pan and add around 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté the zucchini until browned.
2. Remove the zucchini from the pan and rest on a plate. Using the same pan, sauté the onions with the garlic in the remaining oil until translucent but not browned.
3. Add all of the remaining ingredients and zucchini. Season cook for 20 minutes, until the greens are tender and all the excess liquid has evaporated.
Note: before adding the greens, you may wish to boil the vlita and glistrida briefly to remove any bitterness.