What: Although it's commonly considered a weed, purslane has deliciously tender, edible leaves. The fleshy, paddle-shaped leaves look similar to those of miniature jade plants. If you can't find it at your local farmers' market, don't be dismayed. Purslane could be growing right outside your door.
When: Available from about early July through September.
How: We asked Donna Dooher, executive chef and proprietor of Mildred's Temple Kitchen in Toronto, known for simple, seasonal cuisine, how she likes to use it:
"I love it. I tend to eat it with very little done to it, as I believe most fresh ingredients should be eaten. It's great with fish. I quite often grill a piece of fish or meat and barbecue a nice, big slice or half of a lemon, and then pop some purslane on top once it's cooked. Then, I squeeze that smoky lemon on top of everything.
"Or I just throw a handful of purslane into a salad and I'm ready to go. I've eaten it wilted, and, frankly, cooked purslane doesn't appeal to my palate. It wilts pretty fast. It loses some of its water content and it browns a little bit too.
"Purslane is a little bit peppery, but not too much - it's not like pepper cress. It adds texture to a dish and it's just fresh tasting. It has great visual appeal too. When you're walking through a field and you see these tender, beautiful, vibrant green leaves coming up, it really appeals to your palate. It's a great thing to eat with your eyes."
This interview has been condensed and edited.Report Typo/Error