Early Harvest - Spring Sorrel

Spring is in full swing around here.  The rain and the warm sunny days have been good to our vegetable garden.  Even though the tomatoes just got planted today and the cucumber seeds went in the ground last week, we have already had an abundant sorrel harvest. 

In Russia and Ukraine it’s called “shchavel” (щавель); there it is grown in almost every garden and used to make a soup called green borscht.  However, one can only eat so much green borscht, so I began experimenting with different recipes.

Sorrel is a perennial leafy green or herb belonging to the same botanical family as rhubarb and buckwheat.  Its tart, acidic, lemony flavor can be quite exquisite when paired well.  The herb's sharpness is due to oxalic acid, which, in large quantities can be toxic.  When sorrel is cooked its tartness wanes, making it a wonderful compliment to fish or chicken and an excellent candidate for sauces.  It can also be used in soups, stews, and tarts.  The raw tender leaves can be added to salads and green smoothies.

Fish with sorrel sauce is a staple of French cuisine.  Here I paired it with broiled salmon but it can also complement halibut, cod or sole.  The sauce will also work well over potatoes or rice. This recipe is from Mother Earth Living.

1 Tbsp. butter
2 shallots or 1 onion, chopped
2 cups fresh sorrel leaves, stems and heavy veins removed, chopped
1⁄4 cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add shallots or onion and cook until soft.
Add sorrel and cook gently until sorrel wilts.
Add white wine and cook until reduced slightly.
Add cream and lemon juice, cook over medium heat until sauce slightly thickens, about 6 to 10 minutes.
Remove pan from heat. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.