My friend gave me a clump of sorrel last year. I planted it promptly, and have done nothing with it.
We don’t eat much sorrel around here. I don’t see it in the supermarket or the farmer’s market. But it is the best kind of vegetable: a perennial that doesn’t require much in the way of care. I can tell it has been sampled rarely by a slug or snail, but I suppose it is too tangy for them to truly enjoy. I have not seen any sign of disease, despite the generous helping of neglect I have given it.
What am I afraid of?
I did a bit of searching around to find a recipe worth trying. The Splendid Table never lets me down.
Smoked Salmon Benedict with Sorrel Sauce
I made the recipe for one, which was actually worth the trouble. I started by roughly chopping the shallot. I’m not a chef; I don’t produce lovely square mince, especially when I’m cooking for myself. Next year, the shallots will come from my garden. I picked and washed a handful of sorrel leaves and chopped them roughly. I couldn’t find crumpets at the market, but I did find whole-wheat English muffins.
I started the sauce, browning the shallot and half the sorrel in butter. The sorrel cooks down instantly into a kind of slime-colored pulp, but do soldier on. Add the cream and salt. I used light cream instead of heavy.
Then I started poaching the egg. Not being the patient type who will turn an egg over and over in the water, I sprayed a ramekin with cooking spray and cracked in the egg.
Tip: Contrary to the recipe, start the egg before starting the sauce. The sauce cooks instantly and adhered to the pan. Fortunately, it was nothing a little white wine couldn’t cure. And maybe a dollop more butter.
A little bit of deglazing, and it’s time to assemble and eat. I garnished with the chives I harvested and froze a few weeks back.
The whole process took perhaps ten minutes, and the result was outstanding. It’s amazing how a little culinary effort can turn the day around. I felt like a civilized person as I sat down to eat–something I don’t typically feel before feasting on a cold turkey sandwich.
Treat yourself this week!
I have never heard of Sorrel. It looks like lettuce but I’m guessing it’s an herb?
I suppose it depends on whom you ask. Wikipedia calls it an herb (differentiating it from a vegetable only by the volume of the plant typically used, i.e., accent vs. base ingredient); Scheeper’s Kitchen Garden seeds classifies it as a salad green. It can be used similarly to arugula, mache, or watercress, as the strongly flavored base for an interesting salad or side dish, or as a bright accent when combined with lettuces.
It does look a lot like lettuce. My plant is perhaps 18 inches across, and I use a cut-and-come-again technique with it, harvesting only what I need. I’ll be doing some more experimenting with it this winter, and I will post any good results (or maybe any disasters–those are fun to read about). Sorrel soup is a classic French dish, but I’ve been resisting the temptation to try it in favor of smaller adventures here and there.
I’ve heard of sorrel but have no idea what it tastes like. The smoked salmon benedict looks amazing. I think in France they make a sorrel soup.
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