A slight pucker of the lips and scrunch of the nose, eyes wide, followed by “Wow, that’s amazing!”
If a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and a lemon got together to create a plant, its offspring would be sorrel.
French sorrel arises in the spring every year as a perennial with soft thin velvety green leaves similar in shape to spinach. The early delicate leaves give a pop of brightness to your taste buds, as sorrel is as tart as a lemon drop.
It is fresh and grassy with mineral notes, a soft delicate feel across the tongue with a sunshine-like pop of citrus, just like a classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
No wonder this plant/garden herb has been a favorite of chefs for many years. It is being reintroduced to the garden in a few varietals, French, red veined and sheep’s sorrel.
In fine dining restaurants, you have probably seen red veined sorrel. Petite leaves striped with romantic veins of crimson, as a twinkle of color on a brilliant plate. This type of sorrel is great in salads.
The other sunshiny treats are great in salads while they are young and tender. As sorrel grows it’s best sautéed, chopped fine or paired with crème fraiche, since the leaves become more structured and larger.
For first timers, just eat it! Experience the tartness from this fancy green leaf. Once you have your bearings on this potent herb, let’s sauté.
Sautéed Sorrel with coconut and cashew
(Goes great with grilled salmon)
Makes 3 to 4 servings
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 teaspoons shallot minced
1 clove garlic crushed
4 cups Sorrel with stems removed and washed
2 tablespoons cashews, toasted and salted, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon butter, whole
Heat the coconut oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and sweat for 2-4 minutes.
Toss in the sorrel, immediately turn off the heat and allow the residual heat of the pan to “melt” the sorrel. Season with cashews, red pepper flakes, butter and salt.
Sorrel sautés very quickly. Cooking it too much will break down the leaves rapidly. If you need a little more heat to cook the sorrel, go ahead with caution.
Renee Kelly is the owner of Renee Kelly’s Harvest in Johnson County. Her passion lies in changing the food system, one plate at a time. Her inspiration is Mother Nature and the many growers in the Kansas City area.