Purslane Black Olive Tapenade

The Devil's breath has been hot on our necks lately - fiery, wild, and insistent.  Broken records, splattering heat, the glories of this precious place ablaze.  It has felt as if the world is on fire, that the nearly intolerable heat will never end, that only dust and charcoal will remain when the snow starts to fall.

Then tonight, the raindrops came.  The Devil momentarily stopped pressing against us, and we all let our shoulders down in relief.

I know that not everyone has experienced the drought that we have here in the Rockies.  Many have dealt with unrelenting rain.  Their joy comes when the sun finally rises free of clouds.

And so it seems that the finest moments, those etched most clearly in our lives, are those that rest at the intersections, highlighted with the gleaming metal of contrast.

Food, to be honest, isn't so different.  The bites of food that shine are those that pinball around the mouth with contrasting flavors.  So often, it is the bright, the sour, the pickle-y, the punchy, brininess,  bitterness, bite, and the slap of heat that are missing from home cooking.

This is where condiments save the day.  They rush in and elevate those dishes that are uniformly savory and rich.  Too strong to eat on their own, these little sauces and sides and relishes transform meals that are usually monotone sentences into exclamations of food pleasure.

I probably could never sell you on a plain bite of this purslane black olive tapenade.  However, if you serve it atop a piece of grilled fish, or schmeared along a slice of bruschetta, you will understand what it feels like to dance along one of life's intersections.

Purslane Black Olive Tapenade

1/2 c. pitted black olives
1/2 c. chopped purslane (the featured plant for Wild Things in July)
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 anchovies, minced
squeeze of lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
pinch of red pepper flakes

1.  Go to town with your knife, chopping together the olives, purslane, garlic, and anchovies until they reach a pleasing consistency - small and uniform, but not yet pasty.

2.   Scrape the chopped olives and purslane into a bowl, and dress them with the lemon juice, olive oil, and red pepper flakes.

3.  Taste the mixture.  It should be strongly flavored, but well balanced.  Adjust the salt, olive oil, or lemon juice, if necessary.


Wild Things is a foraging recipe challenge, and I want you to play along.  Just find yourself some purslane (learn how here), cook up something tasty, and share your recipe at wildthings.roundup@gmail.com before the end of July.

I'm sharing this little recipe with Pennywise Platter Thursday.

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