herbacious as always…..
Another Year of Coloring Outside the Lines—Successfully
Sorrel, Go Ahead Color with It!
Sorrel is perhaps one of the most overlooked of all the fresh herbs and the one I look forward to most each and every spring. If you travel often to Europe you see this herb often in the springtime, especially in many of the northern European countries like Holland, Sweden, Norway and I think that is where I first discovered sorrel in a new, sweeter light. Part of my “shtick” is taking what we know or think we know about fresh herbs and chucking it to the side so we can get to a place that is not tainted or confined by history or rules about food. Modern cooking and pairing requires a certain creativity that is born from the world getting smaller and smaller before our eyes. So we need to look at sorrel in that same way and forget about sorrel soup, which I don’t believe is really all that exciting not creative. So forget all the nonsense about removing the stems and making life difficult, sorrel is simple to use and I am not saying we shouldn’t cook with it, I do love it in certain dishes, I just think when something is that vibrant and fresh, why cook that freshness out of it!
First lets talk about the tasting notes of sorrel, yes tasting notes of herbs, very important in cooking with herbs to truly understand what they taste like and I discovered the tasting notes through my work with children in our herb classes and we literally taste the raw herbs and a child pallet and how they express flavor is quite magical! (Sorrel is the favorite herb among children to taste raw.) Ok back on track. Tasting notes of sorrel, its lemony above all, but with a zest kind of flavor so it’s somewhat sour but also a tad bitter. It also has a sweet under laying grassy type flavor, somewhat parsley like. It has a fresh and vibrant taste above all. Some say the flavor resembles kiwi a bit. A bitter and sour bite on the tongue at first that leaves a soft sweet grassy flavor on the end. It is a perfectly refreshing herb for spring which is why I find it to be way more practical using it raw and fresh than cooked. It is difficult to maintain its vibrant green color when cooked or heated and therefore can turn and ugly brown color which is uninviting. So what we can do with fresh sorrel that is both fresh and springy and still simple like we like? Here are some of my favorite recipes and creative concoctions as well as a few from my friends that were inspired by my love of sorrel and my pushing it on them this spring.
One of the all time favorite recipes for sorrel at Ger-Nis. Children and adults alike love this refreshing drink that is bright green and exudes springs freshness.
Nissa Pierson, Ger-Nis Culinary & Herb Center
This recipes is one of my all time favorites and is like the best of spring in one big bowl. Using sorrel leaves s the greens in this salad gives it an even fresher grassier tastes that pairs perfectly with the zest radishes and sweet peas.
Zachary Sharaga, Louis 649
Zachary had never hear of sorrel before, but when he needed an herb to work with for the cocktail competition for Ger-Nis’ Herbalicious Birthday Bash, I recommended sorrel, one of my favorite herbs. After a few simple pointers on how to use it and keep the color bright green, he came up with this winning (yes this was the herbalicous contest winner!) recipe for an “herbalized” classic daiquiri.
Rafael Hasid, Miriam and Wolf & Deer
In the same cocktail completion my dear friend Rafi was using kiwi, dandelion and mint and because of all the experimentation that was happening during the many testing’s and creative process parties we had a sweet concoction was born. The pairing is exceptional and was born out of a pure creative accident!
A few other ideas for sorrel………..
Fresh Sorrel Cream Sauce-The best way to prepare a fresh sorrel sauce that keeps the sauce green is to make the sauce first and then when cool add the leaves and blend and then reheat before serving. For example I like to sauté shallots in butter and add some salt and pepper and half and half and a little lemon. Then I let that cool and blend in fresh sorrel leaves and get a nice bright green color. Then I warm it and serve it on potatoes or salmon.
Spring Sorrel Oil-Blend fresh sorrel leaves with olive oil and strain for a bright lemony fresh oil perfect for fish or potatoes or spring salads.
Sorrel Pesto-A perfect pesto for grilled fish or vegetables make it the same way you would basil pesto but use sorrel leaves instead.
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