To Market with Mo: Avoir de l’oseille et avoir soupe
There is a saying in French, avoir de l’oseille. Literal translation is ‘having sorrel’ but the saying is slang for ‘having money’. Hum….but back to that in a moment and onto the weather in Chicago. Despite the tease of a very early Spring (or was that Summer?) we are back to the chilly and wet Chicago Springtime we are more accustomed. And needless to say the cooler and wetter has put me back in a soup making mood….
Have I mentioned that the Farmers Market are not only a great source for locally grown seasonal produce but also provides an opportunity for us city folks to give growing some produce a go. For years I have sourced my tomato plants, herbs, flowering hanging baskets and perennials at the Farmers Market. A few years ago I s across a beautiful red-veined long broad leafed variety of sorrel. Sorrel. Had never actually grown it before or eaten it but the tiny plant was beautiful and if nothing else thought it might add some interest in my small city garden. Fast forward to this year and that little sorrel plant came back this season triple the size and having multiplied all over the garden, so you could say I am really ‘having some sorrel’ this year (oh if only that were translating to the greenbacks).
‘Sour spinach’ aka sorrel makes a wonderful and classic sauce for fish. Melting the sorrel down in some shallots and adding white wine, cream, a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of salt and white pepper and voila, a quick and impressive topping for salmon or a fleshy white fish.
The edible leaf the sorrel plant is high in vitamin A & C and has some potassium, calcium and magnesium. In addition to becoming sauce, this tangy tasting leaf is wonderful in salads, omelettes, purees, soups and my latest discovery as pesto. But lets get back to soup, since we are back to reality with the heat, instead of air conditioning, kicking back on.
The following is my version of a classic sorrel soup.
1 packed cup fresh sorrel (or if like me a bit more)
1 medium onion diced
1/2 stick of butter
1 lb white potatoes peeled and cubed
1 1/2 qt chicken stock (can sub water w/ lots or pepper & salt)
salt and pepper to taste
Optional garnish: squeeze of lemon, creme fraiche (sour cream or yogurt work as well).
Melt sorrel in a pot of sauteeing butter and onions. Add chicken stock and heat to a simmer. Add diced potatoes and cook until potatoes are soft. Puree the soup in a food processor. Return to soup pot and season to taste with salt and pepper.
(note — do not be put off my the color, which looks more like a green or brown lentil soup. It’s all about the flavor.)
Garnish with a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of creme fraiche.