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 + 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
- 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
- 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.