I like to forage for papalos* and verdalagas because I can pick them on our land, which is not as much fun, but much more convenient than tacking up the ponies and trail riding for the afternoon.
Papalos fall into the category of things Soco considers weeds and claims she no longer eats, though I see her reach for them when we bring a bunch to share at family meals. Papalos are eaten as a condiment. They are kept in a jar of water on the table, like a vase of flowers. We munch the strong flavored, herbaceous leaves from the stem, with everything.
I am excited about this post because I can include a recipe I consider a classic from the mesa de Mexicana’s. Finally, something we forage is widely available, and you can make this authentic Mexican dish at home. Traditionally, verdalagas(purslane) are chopped, sautéed, and folded to scrambled eggs, or served in Salsa Verde con Puerco.
Pork, or fried Cheese in Salsa Verde
2 lbs. tomatillos
1 white onion
2 cloves garlic
2-4 Serrano chilies
½ chopped cilantro
Ideally, grill or broil vegetables until blackened, or boil tomatillos until soft but not falling apart, then blend with the rest of the raw ingredients
2 lbs pork, short ribs or pork chops with bone and fat
1 lb. washed coarsely chopped purslane
Flour, salt and pepper
Sauté purslane on med heat in oil, remove when it is translucent or tender. Raise heat to medium high.
Mix salt and pepper in flour and dust pork shaking off excess, fry the pork until brown in batches. Remove meat and set aside.
Pour salsa into hot fat and fry for 3 mins, lower heat and add pork and purslane, simmer gently until pork is cooked through. If you are using cheese, use a cheese that holds together, like provolone, or Halloumi, and fry on both sides until browned, proceed in the same manner as the with the meat recipe.
Serve with refried black beans and corn tortillas
*The only site I could find that was acurate was in spanish