French sorrel is an easy to grow perennial that prefers moist, rich soil, afternoon shade and looks great in both beds and containers. Sorrel thrives throughout the cool season, but the summer can sometimes be tough with the onslaught of caterpillars and scorching hot sun. Use safe and effective bacillus thuringiensis in the form of Dipel dust or liquid Thuricide to keep the caterpillars in check, and provide a spot in the garden with moist, rich soil and afternoon shade to protect from the summer sun.
A low-growing clump of bright green leaves, French sorrel has long been a staple of European cuisine and is just beginning to get the recognition it deserves here in the States. Its prize feature is its tangy-lemony flavor. The fresh, young greens add a zesty tang when chopped finely and added to a salad. The larger leaves make terrific additions to sandwiches, soups, sauces, and a surprisingly delectable pesto (recipe below). Be sure to cut the mid-rib out of the larger leaves before cooking or using fresh. Fold those large leaves in half and cut the fleshy leaves away from the mid-rib.
For centuries in England, a thick green sorrel sauce has been used to accompany fish, veal and lamb. A more delicate version made with butter and cream adds a delightful lemony essence to baked fish or chicken. Or try steaming spinach and sorrel together and serving them topped with melted butter and chopped scallions.
By far the most delicious sorrel dish I’ve tried is the delectable French Sorrel Soup. It boasts the delightful lemony tang typical to sorrel, but also has a surprisingly rich depth of flavor that is purely addictive. I recently planted three additional clumps of sorrel so I can enjoy these scrumptious dishes more often.
French Sorrel Soup
5 medium potatoes, peeled & chopped
1 medium onions, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
4 cups stock, veggie or chicken
1 good size bunch of sorrel, midribs removed and thinly sliced
1 T fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 T fresh marjoram, finely chopped
2 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
Saute the onions in 1/4 stick of margarine (or coconut oil) in a large pot, add the sliced sorrel and toss until wilted. Add the potatoes, stock and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the marjoram and parsley, also salt and pepper if desired. Puree in batches in a blender. Return to a simmer. Optional to serve with freshly grated nutmeg or grated cheese.
2 C fresh sorrel
1 garlic clove
3 T cashews
¼ C parmesan cheese
¼ C olive oil
Combine basil, garlic, nuts and cheese in food processor or blender, puree to form a paste; slowly add olive oil while blending. You may substitute pecans, walnuts, almonds or cashews for pine nuts.