50 Things To Do With Fresh Sorrel

Garden sorrel (Rumex acetosa) is commonly cultivated in French vegetable patches, and the season is just beginning. It is a sturdy, easy-to-grow leafy plant that comes back year after year, and belongs to the same botanical family as rhubarb and buckwheat, which is always fun to know.

I think of it as being halfway between a green and an herb: its flavor is notably tangy and sour, and it can be eaten raw or gently cooked, but in both cases it is best served in combination with other ingredients, so its pungency won’t overwhelm.

Well used, it is a delight that can really lift a dish, especially in conjunction with a sweet or fatty element.

But the operative words here are “well used” and I thought I would turn to you via twitter to hear about your favorite uses of fresh sorrel, as I did last year for the 45 things to do with fresh sage list.

Many thanks to all who chimed in; here’s the list I compiled, for your use and enjoyment.

(Note: in French, sorrel is oseille and it’s a classic slang word for money, in use since the late nineteenth century. Woody Allen’s 1969 movie Take The Money And Run was released in France under the title “Prends l’oseille et tire-toi.”)

Sorrel pairings

- Sorrel + fish (especially fatty fish, such as salmon — seek out a sustainable source — or mackerel)
- Sorrel + shellfish (especially scallops, same comment as for salmon)
- Sorrel + cream or butter
- Sorrel + bacon
- Sorrel + potatoes
- Sorrel + rice
- Sorrel + lentils
- Sorrel + celeriac
- Sorrel + leafy greens (spinach, Swiss chard, kale)
- Sorrel + eggs
- Sorrel + chicken or veal
- Sorrel + mustard
- Sorrel + goat cheese

Sorrel uses

- Add to soups
- Make it into a sauce for fish
- Add to omelets and scrambled eggs
- Add to a stuffing for meat
- Shred sorrel and stuff it into fish
- Add to quiches
- Add to mashed potatoes
- Add to hummus
- Add to pasta
- Add to mixed-leaf and herb salads
- Add to chard and spinach anywhere you would use those
- Use as a filling for buckwheat crêpes
- Make it into a pesto, to use in pasta, on pizzas, or with grilled salmon

Recipe ideas

- Salmon with sorrel, a legendary dish originally invented by the Troisgros brothers in Roanne in 1973
- Baked line-caught seabass with beurre blanc and sorrel
- Chop sorrell into a butter sauce to go with salmon fishcakes.
- Pair with salmon, mustard seeds and raspberries.
- Hot sorrel soup, with leeks, dill and sour cream
- Soup of fresh shelling beans and sorrel
- Green borscht
- Chilled sorrel soup with plain yogurt and lemon (a.k.a. schav in Yiddish)
- Lightly sauté in butter with shallots, deglaze with sherry, then mix all with goat cheese and use as an omelet filling.
- Chicken and sorrel sandwich with fresh mayonnaise
- Toss into mixed-leaf salads, with a relatively sweet dressing, and optional goat cheese crumbled on top.
- Chopped sorrel with black beans or lentils for a cold salad
- Warm potato and salmon salad with sorrel vinaigrette
- A salad of white peaches and sorrel
- Charlotte potato salad with wilted sorrel, yogurt and some freshly grated horseradish and chives
- Rice with sorrel and lemon, served as a side to fish
- Chop with an onion, garlic and mushrooms. Sauté lightly in butter and stuff a chicken.
- Pan sear with butter, and pair with a thin piece of veal in a port reduction, with a very light sprinkling of sumac.
- Fried beans with sorrel, feta and sumac from the second Ottolenghi book, Plenty
- Add to spanakopita.
- Sauté briefly in olive oil and mix with almond butter and salt, to accompany mushrooms (crisp bacon optional).
- Sorrel spinach pesto with pumpkin seeds
- Sprinkle sorrel, chiffonaded or gently melted into frying butter, on fresh pasta. Grate a little lemon zest on top.
- Toss some penne with sorrel, red onion, mint and garlic.

Tagged:
  • http://sasasunakku.com Sasa

    Oh I remember we used to get sorrel in at a restaurant I used to work at in the UK, I think it was for soup… What a great idea to have a list like this!

  • http://breadandmilkandblackberries.blogspot.com/ Ruth

    Wow, wow and wow! I need some sorrel!

  • Anna

    I used to have two sorrel plants that yielded so much more than I knew what to do with . . . if I have the chance to have (almost) unlimited sorrel again, I’ll definitely use these ideas.

  • alina

    I see that there’s one use missing — as a dessert. In Russia they sometimes use sorrel as pie filling — just sub sorrel in any of the rhubarb pie recipes and you get close. I made it last fall with the last of sorrel, and it was very good.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That’s most intriguing, Alina, thank you! I’ll have to try that.

  • http://www.fortycloves.com fortycloves

    I have never cooked with sorrel,but you have piqued my curiosity. It sounds extremely versatile. I will try to get my hands on some!

  • http://thetasterevelation.com Claudia

    Fantastic! I was always wondering what to use sorrel for..we used to have it in our back garden. Your receipe ideas sound very interesting.

  • http://www.theculinarychase.blogspot.com The Culinary Chase

    Going out for dinner on Friday and on the set menu is sorrel soup. Looking forward to trying this and perhaps then trying my own with your list of pairings. Cheers!

  • Liz Thomas

    Lovely stuff and great ideas but not a chance of finding it here!

    Hoping to be in France and UK in August/September so perhaps might find some then.

    Cheers!
    Liz

    • avril rustage-johnston

      Have you thought of buying a packet of seeds and growing your own? Not difficult.

      • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

        I don’t have a garden, so I haven’t, but I would love to.

  • Jackie

    I grow sorrel so I can make Gruene Sosse (german for ‘Green Sauce’). It’s a very loose and adaptable recipe that includes yogurt (or sour cream), mayo and mustard and a variety of fresh green herbs with sorrel dominating. So fresh and a real sign of spring.

    It’s usually served over potatoes and/or boiled eggs. I made dinner last week and served it over potatoes and mahi mahi.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That sounds lovely, Jackie, thanks for the idea!

    • Brigitte

      I have Sorrel in my garden for years,
      because I want to make Gruene Sosse,
      but I never did.
      My question, which other herbs to you
      choose with it.
      I also like this kind of fish.But we get it very rarely.
      Can I ask where do you live?
      Regards, Brigitte

  • Elise

    My mom has some sorrel in her herb garden and a couple of weeks ago I nabbed a bunch from her and experimented with a sorrel pesto. (Just sorrel, garlic, parmesan, olive oil…and would have used pine nuts but didn’t have any on hand so I replaced them with toasted walnuts). Served it on top of some ling cod (and used the rest in the coming days on bread). The pesto was kind of citrusy and was a nice complement to the fish.

  • http://boulderlocavore.blogspot.com/ Boulder Locavore

    What a perfectly timed post! Our Farmer’s Market has just opened and sorrel is always a first of our season. I just did a blog post about sorrel with scrambled eggs but my repetoire with sorrel is sorely narrow! I’ve wanted to find more ways to use it other than just with soup. I love all these ideas and information. Thank you!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m glad this is helpful!

  • http://thequincepoacher.com/ Queenotisblue

    Thank you for some great ideas. I have some sorrel growing in my garden and not really known what to do with it. This has given me lots of things to try.

  • sillygirl

    I put fresh shredded sorrel in my cabbage salad along with onion, frozen peas, cilantro, an olive oil and vinegar dressing and any meat of choice and either toasted sunflower seeds or toasted walnuts. Fresh red pepper and/or tomatoes and/or avocados are nice, too, but sometimes I just have the basics. The peas and sorrel give it a fresh spring flavor.

  • http://www.tandcake.wordpress.com Tamsin

    Thank you! I planted some sorrel a few weeks ago because I want to try the Ottolenghi recipe. I was wondering what else to do with it. Of course I’ve only got seedings at the moment so I’m in for a wait.

  • Jill

    In the process of assembling this list, did you come across any recipes for sorrel punch? When I’m in the Caribbean I drink it all the time. It’s usually bright red so I’m not sure the leaves are used, but if you do have information on it, please pass it on!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      If I understand you right, what you have in mind is a different plant altogether: it’s called sorrel or red sorrel in the Caribbeans, but hibiscus elsewhere. The tea/punch you make from it is delicious, but I believe it’s unrelated to sorrel greens.

  • http://www.cailenascher.blogspot.com cailen

    i’ve never cooked with sorrel, but this post really leaves me no excuses not to!

    thanks for the inspiration : )

  • http://insideabritishmumskitchen.blogspot.com Mary

    I remember sorrel growing in the garden in England and my mum making the most delicious soup. I haven’t seen it for a while but will keep an eye out. Lovely.

  • http://localnourishment.com Peggy

    In Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the new bride stops to pick some wild sorrel. Her new groom questions her:

    Milly: “It’s my wedding bouquet”
    Adam “Sorrel?”
    Milly: “Makes real nourishing soup “

  • http://www.mrswheelbarrow.com Cathy

    At this time of year, I’m thrilled to see my sorrel plants coming to life. The new leaves are fantastic in a salad, and as the season goes on, the leaves need more cooking, and more pruning. I love all these ideas for sorrel – certainly glad to have some new recipes, as sorrel will surely take over my herb garden if I don’t use A LOT of it.

  • http://thefarmgirlcooks.wordpress.com Kasha

    Thanks for sharing this! I can’t wait to share all of your ideas with our customers when we start selling at farmers markets this season. No one ever knows what to do with sorrel and this is a wonderful list.

    Thanks again!

  • http://diningwithdusty.blogspot.com Katy from DiningwithDusty

    I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with fresh sorrel, but clearly I’m missing out! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • http://www.cozydelicious.com Katie@Cozydelicious

    I’m planning my garden and I think you’ve inspired me t add sorrel. It’s so pretty and now I have all of these ideas for how to use it!

  • http://lacaffettierarosa.wordpress.com Caffettiera

    Sorrel grows wild in the Alps. My father taught me to munch on a sorrel stalk to quench thirst. To me it tastes of long walks under the sun, in fresh air. It tastes of summer. I bought it for the first time to make Ottolenghi’s fried beans with sorrel and feta, which you cite. There are plenty of other great ideas here, thanks!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      What a lovely memory, thanks for sharing it with us.

  • http://rachellesramblings.wordpress.com/ Rachelle

    Oh I didn’t know sorrel with salmon was a traditional pairing! I recently had a lunch at Le Meurice which featured this combination. It was my first time having sorrel…and I loved the flavour!

  • http://kitchenvoyage.blogspot.com/ kitchenvoyage

    Fry squid with radish and sorrel salad is my suggestion

  • http://thedelightblog.wordpress.com/ Cassandra Potier Watkins

    If you need an only sorrel pesto recipe (no spinach like above), here is one I recently posted adapted from another blogger’s dandelion pesto recipe. We have been eating this on pasta, as dip artichoke dip and drizzled over smoked trout… excellent!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Sounds great, Cassandra, thanks for the link.

  • Mallory

    So I’m entering a cooking contest called Real Women of Philadelphia and want to make a quiche with sorrel and goat cheese for the Sides category. It’s an awesome recipe my mom showed me, but I’ve never entered a cooking contest before so I really want to have it down pat and the contest is going on now so I’m running out of time to prepare! Here’s my recipe:

    Does anyone know how to chop sorrel correctly so it doesn’t get all gooey in the oven? My mom says this has happened to her before. Furthermore, who all is entering this Real Women contest? Do I have any competition!

  • http://www.honeyfromrock.blogspot.com Claudia

    I got it in my CSA box for awhile and used in soup and also for a sauce to go with salmon. Thanks for all the ideas, as I’m going to give it a try in my garden.

  • muckraker

    I grow sorrel in my garden and have cooked with it quite a bit. The best recipe I have ever made is Martha Stewart’s Sorrel and Onion Tart (Google it and the recipe will come up). I’ve brought it to multiple potlucks and everyone goes crazy over it. It’s a nice holiday/gathering dish.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Gillian

    To go back to the sage post, apparently it helps darken grey hair.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Interesting, thanks for sharing!

  • http://erinnlawson.wordpress.com/ Erinn L.

    How have I never heard of sorrel when it seems to have such a wide variety of uses? Of course I have to try it with all the great suggestions listed above. Sorrel pesto? Sounds phenomenal!

  • Madonna

    Perfect timing. The sorrel is coming up in my garden and the first of it should be ready to pick soon. I definitely want to try it with salmon. Sorrel soup is a summer favorite at our house.

  • Melissa

    I just had a fabulous meal at a vegan restaurant (Horizons) in Philadelphia last night, and we ended the meal with a strawberry + sorrel bread pudding, topped with a scoop of citrus ice cream. It was divine! The sorrel provided a hint of earthiness.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      How unusual, thanks for sharing, Melissa.

  • http://www.raspberryandchipotle.blogspot.com Tessa

    I have never grown sorrel. There is a plant exchange coming up at my local branch of the Cottage Garden Society so I’ll see if anyone has some to swap.

  • http://scrambledpreservedfriedcured.wordpress.com/ Emily

    Yes – try sorrel and dark chocolate brownies…topped with sea salt.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Oooh, edgy, I like that! ^_^

  • Aisha

    After seeing the title of your post (I hadn’t actually read it) I noticed bunches of sorrel at the farmer’s market yesterday and thought I might give it a go. Wasn’t in the mood for anything that involved more than washing and chopping, and I also wanted to figure out the taste of cooked sorrel. So I decided to make a soup. Chopped the leaves, cooked in oil til wilted with a bit of garlic, added water and some homemade veg bouillon, let it simmer, added silken tofu cubes and a few anchovies, simmered some more. Took off heat, tasted, thought it needed something extra. Added a splash of toasted sesame oil and some sesame seeds and dinner was done. (In the meantime, its cousin the rhubarb was roasting in the oven). The taste is actually pretty good if you like tart things like I do. Toasted sesame oil, the tofu and the sesame seeds kind of balance the tartness of the sorrel.
    Something to keep in mind when you don’t know what to do with your sorrel and the only effort you want to put in involves barely more than pouring hot water on cup noodles :)

  • Lynn

    Sorrel keeps cropping up lately! I grew it some years ago for a yummy cream of sorrel soup but hadn’t had it for some time. Just this week I bought a bunch at our farmer’s market so I could make a green pozole based on a Diana Kennedy recipe. It was DELICIOUS – I may have to replant a batch.

  • Bob French

    Once back in the 60s on a visit to France-near Montreuil-Bellay,Maine-et-Loire, a lovely lady called Madeleine cooked an omelette a l’oseille, eaten in the garden.It is the best use of sorrell,combining acidity with richness of farm eggs.Sadly she cooks no more…..

  • http://wantonflavours.blogspot.com/ tim and paula

    We grow sorrel in our allotment, so it is great to have new ideas and different ways of using it. Thanks everyone.

    We often use sorrel in a soup, with lime and coconut, to take it in a Far Eastern direction – you could also add a bit of chilli. See our recipe and pictures here.

  • http://www.mbadog.com Gatra

    i start to grow sorrel on my backyard. this tips are very usefull

    Thanks

  • lynn

    When I lived in Switzerland during the 1970′s, I visted Restauarnt Troisgros in Roanne and had thr saumon a l’oseille. Thereafter, I made it at home whenever sorrel was available. Now, back in the US for these many years, I still have an automatic response to seeing sorrel in my market – run to buy a salmon filet and all the fixings. With more sorrel available, I’d probably branch out to soups and omelets – but first…salmon in sorrel sauce.

  • Elena

    My mother-in-law, from the island of Crete, would make sorrel leaves into “dolmades” : folded little trangles stuffed with rice seasoned with fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, mint, spring onions, chopped tomato, cooked in olive oil. Sorrel is also used in combination with other greens and spinach in pies. It’s commonly used in greek cooking.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      What an extraordinarily appealing idea, Elena, thank you for contributing!

  • Eric Fairchild

    Good to have a list of uses for sorrel. Sorrel seems to be very lnog lived. I planted some in 1985 and it is still going strong in my Yorkshire home. Just last week I also planted some at my house in Dordogne so I am hoping for for many years of pleasure from it. I add it to white sauce to go with fish and for tomato and sorrel soup.

  • Fe & Scott

    My husband and I have a garden/small farm and lots of sorrel plants. We have it everyday for breakfast as the main ingredient of our green juice! Just fresh pick a bunch of sorrel and juice it in a juicer with ginger, lime, mint, cucumber and 1 green apple… Best way to start the day (at least for us)!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That sounds really good, thanks for sharing!

  • Carla D’Anna

    I made Persian herb stew (ghormeh sabzi) and used sorrel as one of the herbs, it was very tasty and complimented the dried limes.

    Thanks for all the other ideas.

    I’ll also share a garden tip. If you grow sorrel it divides easily so one plant can turn into many and they are perennials.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Excellent tips, thank you for sharing, Carla!

  • http://www.ming.com/simply-ming/episodes/season-11/episode-1101-kristen-kish-and-soup.htm Ericson

    Your blog on sorrels is an excellent resource! Now the trick is to find them in my locality. Checkout this video of chef Ming Tsai and Kristen Kish (from Top Chef) use sorrel!

  • Courtney

    Hi Clotilde, just planted some sorrel in the garden…can’t wait to try the warm potato and salmon salad with sorrel vinaigrette! Thanks!

    Courtney
    http://www.courtblanche.com

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Do let me know if you try it!

Get the newsletter

Receive a free monthly email with a digest of recent entries, plus exclusive inspiration and special announcements. You can also choose to be notified of every new post.