There are several varieties of sorrel available and at The Chef’s Garden @ Epicurean we grow French sorrel (Rumex scutatus) and the rather stunning red-veined sorrel (Rumex sanguineus).
With a bright tart lemony flavour sorrel can be eaten raw or made into a purèe and added to other cooked foods. Red-veined sorrel is milder in flavour, but its attractive leaves are fabulous as a garnish or addition to salads.
Sorrel has long been used for not only culinary purposes, but also medically and as it is rich in Vitamin C it was especially useful in the treatment of scurvy. It is also a natural laxative and is said to contain anti-oxidants which can help to fight the signs of aging.
Availability: Sorrel is at its best during spring and autumn when it flushes and the leaves are young and tender, but at The Chef’s Garden it is generally available year round.
Goes with: butter; chicken; cream; eggs; fish; milk; potatoes; other cooked greens such as spinach, kale and chard; other salad greens; and smoked fish.
SELECTION, STORAGE, PREPARATION & USING
Selection: Look for leaves that are bright green, firm and fresh looking.
Storage: Wrap in paper towels, place in a plastic bag, keep in the vegetable drawer and use within a day or two. Alternatively, make into a puree (see below) and freeze for later use.
Using: Sorrel is extremely versatile and can be used as you would a leafy herb – as a garnish, chopped and stirred into marinades, dressings, soups, sauces and casseroles; or leafy green – added to salads.
As sorrel contains oxalic acid, when cooked the vibrant green leaves tend to turn a murky-brown colour, to help prevent this cook in a cast-iron vessel.
Sorrel Puree: Cook in butter, until the leaves wilt and fall apart and form a purèe. This can be added to other cooked greens, soups, sauces or casseroles or frozen for later use.
Fresh Sorrel Sauce: A delicious sauce to serve with fish. Melt a knob of butter over a low heat, add a small finely chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent. Stir in a bunch (about 2 cups) of fresh chopped sorrel leaves and cook until sorrel wilts. Stir in ¼ cup dry white wine, bring to simmering and simmer to reduce slightly. Stir in 1½ cups cream, bring back to simmering over a medium heat and simmer until sauce reduces and thickens. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serves 4