Lamb’s quarter, otherwise known as goosefoot, or wild spinach, is one of oldest and most prolific greens, used not only for its spear-shaped leaves but for its small black seeds. Equally venerable as a culinary weed is the pink-stemmed purslane, a cousin of the bright-flowered but inedible portulaca. At their youngest, in the first breath of spring, the leaves of both pigweed and purslane are delicious raw. As they grow into adolesence, both need only a quick parboiling to restore tenderness but maintain crispness. If other wild things are near at hand, like leafing poke sprouts, the leaves of dandelions, or the blossoms and leaves of budding nasturtiums, use them too, with sunflower seed dressing.
4 cups each purslane and lamb’s quarter leaves
4 green onions, with tops, chopped
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons wine vinegar, or more as needed
salt and pepper to taste
Wash the purslane plantes and the lamb’s quarter leaves separately. If the purslane is large, chop into 2-inch lengths. Put the purslane in a saucepan, cover with water, and boil 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. Put the wet lamb’s quarter leaves and green onions in a skillet, cover tightly, and steam 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the size and age of the leaf. Drain and mix with the purslane in a salad bowl. Put the sunflower seeds in a blender with the oil and pulverize until chunky. Add the vinegar and season to taste. If dressing is too thick, thin with more vinegar. Pour the dressing over the salad greens.
Serves 4 to 6.