Potato Salad with Sorrel Dressing
Every time I walk around the Farmers Market I feel like I am on a treasure hunt. There is an element of familiarity with each vender, but also curiosity as the seasons transition from the sparse offerings of early spring to the abundant fall harvest. At every visit, I anticipate the changing produce and new discoveries. Fortunately, this past week was no exception for I discovered sorrel.
In my area, sorrel is only available at Farmers Markets. It is a green leafy vegetable with a bright lemony flavor. It is a hardy plant but for some reason does not have wide appeal. However, every vegetable centered cookbook I own has a few sorrel recipes. Therefore, it must have some appeal. If Deborah Madison and Alice Walters took the time to highlight this vegetable, it is worth bringing home to see for myself.
For my first discovery I learned sorrel is not like spinach. Usually, spinach is recommended as a common substitute for sorrel. Yet, they are very different in taste. Unless you add the juice of a full lemon with spinach in your recipe, you will not get the acidic punch that sorrel has. Sorrel has a grassy-lemony flavor and spinach is mild.
Like most leafy green vegetables, cooking causes sorrel to shrink and change color. Ultimately, a cup of sorrel will cook down to about a tablespoon or smaller. As a result, sorrel is often used to make a sauce or soup, instead of a side dish. This leafy vegetable has a high acid content, therefore cooking changes the color to a drab olive-green. Though, it may not have the red-carpet appearance, sorrel makes up for its drab color with punchy, citrus and herbaceous flavor.
Featured recipes with Sorrel
I decided to try sorrel in different cooking applications and pairings. In Deborah Madison’s cookbooks, Vegetable Literacy and Vegetarian Cooking for Everybody, she recommends pairing sorrel with potatoes, eggs, fish (especially oily fish like salmon) and fat. First, I made Sorrel Sauce with Yogurt from Vegetable Literacy, (which she credits Yotam Ottolenghi’s book, Plenty). It is a delicious and easy recipe, and takes less than 10 minutes to make. There is nothing like a quick fix. For dinner I paired the sauce with black sea bass, and potato sorrel gratin from Alice Walters, Chez Panisee Vegetables, and quickly blanched green beans.
The sorrel sauce with yogurt is a simple uncooked sauce and easily made in a food processor. The smell of the sorrel purée was so intense, it felt like I did a nose dive into a freshly mowed lawn. Additionally, the sauce had a zesty and herby taste, along with a creamy tang from the yogurt. It paired nicely with a simply prepared fish.
All of the new recipes and discoveries inspired me to try sorrel with one of my favorite foods, potato salad. I believed the lemon flavor would jazz up potato salad with a nice fresh zing. Fortunately, I was not disappointed. I made a traditional potato salad with celery and hard-boiled eggs and mixed everything together with creamy sorrel dressing. If you like a bit of lemon flavor with potatoes you will enjoy this salad.
A trip to the Farmers Market resulted in a terrific new food discovery. As a result, one new food developed into three new recipes. It is like learning how to cook all over again wherever you find fresh ideas and inspiration. I love looking for that buried treasure.
Hope everyone has a safe and fun Memorial Day. Thank you to all the men and women who served in the military and gave their lives defending our country. While we remember our fallen soldiers, keep our current service men and women in your hearts for a safe return home.
Potato Salad with Sorrel Dressing
Sorrel Sauce with Yogurt
- 2 cups / 500 ml cleaned sorrel leaves
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml plain yogurt
- 1 clove garlic
- Fresh chives finely chopped about a tablespoon
- Kosher salt to taste
For the Potato Salad with Sorrel dressing
- 2 lbs russet Yukon Gold or Red New Bliss potatoes
- 1-2 Tbs distilled vinegar
- 3 Hard boiled eggs
- 4 large cleaned sorrel leaves
- 2 celery ribs cut into a medium dice
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml mayonnaise
- 2-3 Tbs Sorrel Sauce with Yogurt
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt plus more to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Minced Chives
For the Sorrel Sauce with Yogurt
Trim off the stem of each sorrel leaf. If the leaf comes from a more mature plant you will want to cut out the middle rib connection to the stem. Younger sorrel leaves look more tender then more mature ones. Give the sorrel leaves a rough chop, or loosely trim the scissors and add the leaves to a food processor. Peel the garlic clove and remove the green germ. Pound the garlic clove into a pulp using a motor and pestle or the side of your Chef knife. To make garlic pulp with the side of you knife, mince the garlic clove then sprinkle a pinch of Kosher salt over the minced garlic. Using the side of your chef knife, press down on the side of the knife across the minced garlic and smearing the garlic across the cutting board. Continue pressing and smearing back and forth with the chef's knife until the garlic has the consistency of pulp. Add the garlic to the food processor along with the yogurt. Process the yogurt mixture until the sorrel and yogurt is a smooth puree. Transfer the sorrel sauce into a small bowl and stir in the minced chives. Cover the sauce and refrigerate until needed. The sauce will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.
Make the sorrel dressing
Mix together in a small bowl the mayonaise, 1 -2 Tbls of the Sorrel Sauce with Yogurt, dijon mustard. Taste the dressing to determine how much salt is needed. Add kosher salt up to 1/2 teaspoon. Cover the sorrel dressing and refrigerate until needed.
For the Potato Salad with Sorrel Sauce
Depending on your preference and if your potatoes are organic, (organic Yukon Gold and New Red Potatoes are fine to leave unpeeled) peel and cut the potatoes into evenly sized pieces between 1/2 - 1 inch in size. Stay away from any green potatoes, they can make you sick.
Put the clean and cut potatoes into a pot and fill with cold water until an inch above the top of the potatoes. Add a pinch of salt to the water. Place the pot with the potatoes on a burner and turn it on to high to reach a boil. When the potatoes are beginning to boil, turn the heat down to medium and put a lid on the pot. Depending on the size of your potatoes will depend on how fast they cook. If they are on the small size the potatoes could be done as soon as 5 minutes. Keep checking the potatoes after the first 5 minutes of cooking to see if they are done. The potatoes are done when pierced with a fork or knife it moves easily through the potato without any resistance. Do not over cook the potatoes they will be mussy and fall apart. It is OK to slightly under cook the potatoes as they will continue to cook with the residual heat. Drain the potatoes and place in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the potatoes with 1 Tbl vinegar and a pinch of salt, and gently stir to mix. Let the potatoes cool.
De-rib and cut off the stems of the sorrel leaves. Stack the leaves and tightly roll them up and cut across to finely chifffonde the leaves.
Chop the celery ribs into a medium dice. Rough chop the hard boiled eggs.Add the celery, sorrel and hard boiled eggs to the cooled potatoes and gently mixed together. Add the sorrel dressing and gently mix together until it is evenly incorporated. Taste and correct seasoning. Transfer the potato salad to a serving dish garnish with minced chives. Cover and refrigerate the potato salad until ready to serve.
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