Sorrel provokes pucker. It's lemon-sour, tangy tart. Which is why the bold green with the bold plan for garden domination so often gets ground down to fish sauce.
It's bracing like that, or, soothed with cream, makes a refreshing summer soup. After I've swirled my annual sauce and my annual soup, I'm stumped. Not sorrel. It just grows bigger, bolder and badder. By August, it's muscling out the tomatoes, tangling with the pumpkin vines, shade-shaming the basil.
One afternoon, Jennifer gave the green giant a sharp squint, snapped off a stem and bit. "You could just eat it," she said, "like lettuce." Brilliant. Soon I was slicing sorrel into slivers, tossing it with lettuce, parsley and thyme. Sorrel salad has sass; dress simply with oil and salt.
I was so pleased by my discovery I read up on sorrel and learned that the British cook, not one to tolerate an unruly garden, has long lunched on sorrel salad. Time, I suppose, to pack in the garden shears and get back to the books.
Abundant sorrel salad
Prep: 15 minutes
1 ripe, juicy tomato
Flaky salt, such as Maldon
Freshly ground black pepper
1Marinate: Grate tomato on the large holes of a box-grater, discarding skin. Scrape tomato and juices into a salad bowl. Stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
2Slice: Break stems off sorrel and discard. Wash and spin-dry leaves. Slice crosswise into thin strips. Measure 2 cups and drop into the salad bowl.
3Cut: Wash and dry lettuce. If leaves are small, use them whole. If not, cut down to about 2-inch bites. Measure 2 cups and drop into salad bowl.
4Toss: Wash and dry whole basil leaves, parsley leaves, thyme leaves, dill (snipped to 1-inch tufts) and chives (snipped to ½-inch spears). Measure 2 cups of these mixed herbs and drop into salad bowl. Toss well.
5Season: Taste. Drizzle with more oil and scatter on more salt if need be. Heap onto plates. Enjoy.