I link sour pickles with old-fashioned New York deli pickles. In traditional delicatessens they were stored in large wooden barrels that seemingly held a lifetime supply of pickles—and you were free to dip in and fish out your own. Unlike most off-the-shelf pickles that use vinegar, ’half sours’ are fermented in a salt-water solution and become only mildly sour.
My recent venture into sour pickle making stemmed from an over-abundance of fennel—and conjuring up new uses for those feathery fronds I have learned to cherish. I knew I had a plan when I coincidentally netted a supply of small Persian cucumbers. They are similar to Kirby cucumbers, the popular clean-flavored babies used in pickle making.
These pickles couldn’t be easier, they require no canning or water bath. Brines and marinades, those stalwarts of the small kitchen, both provide natural preservative qualities and the ability to infuse flavors.
The salt water fermentation brings forth pickles rich in probiotics, vitamin B and K. Depending on ambient conditions, a jar of crisp garlicky pickles is ready to eat in 7 to 10 days.
In all fairness, the fennel flavor is not wildly apparent; I know it’s there, and that makes me happy. It’s tough to compete against the power of garlic, and the combination of dill and garlic is doubly hard to beat.
But, for pickle diversity, the fennel is a nice change and it works beautifully.
4-6 Persian or Kirby cucumbers; wash, trim halve
1 cup fennel fronds or 4 heads dill
4 cloves garlic, halved
2 cups filtered water, warm
1 Tbsp salt
½ tsp sugar
1 Tbsp whole peppercorns
3-4 cup clean jar with lid
Dissolve the salt and sugar in warm water. Add the peppercorns and cool.
Place a layer of fennel or dill in bottom of a 3-4 cup jar. Pack the cucumbers upright in the jar, distribute the garlic among the spears, and top with a layer of fennel or dill. Pour in salt water to cover; reserve any excess.
Drape jar top with a layer of cheesecloth and set on a plate to catch any potential brine overflow. Let cucumbers ferment 1-4 days at room temperature—the warmer it is, the faster sourness will develop. Top off with more of the salt water to keep emerged. When the brine becomes cloudy and a foam forms on top, taste for sourness. Within 7 to 10 days they should be ready to eat.
Seal with lid and move to fridge to slow fermentation and longer storage. They will last in the fridge up to a year. Yields 1 jar pickles.
If you happened to read the preceding post, you know that this past St Paddy’s Day took a turn and the usual corned beef and cabbage evolved into homemade pastrami. It wasn’t until well into the pastrami making process that I began to consider new accompaniments.
A peppery rub and time in the smoker had altered this corned beef so greatly that thoughts of traditional boiled vegetables seemed horribly wrong. Rather, the deli side of the pastrami emerged far more intriguing. As I continued to tinker with the pastrami, visions of an upgraded deli potato salad took form… one with roasted Yukon Gold potatoes, carrots and fennel.
Pulling it all together, I’d keep it simple (famous last words): throw on a few stashed Red-Hot links during the smoking stage for a little variety and transition to an easy mixed grill. Maybe include some pickled items—no horseradish here, I’d pull out a delicious stone ground mustard.
The trouble with roasted vegetables is that they take so long to actually roast. I decided to help them out by briefly precooking the potatoes, carrots and fennel in the microwave (the fennel really works here). Then, when convenient finish them in a hot oven.
To be honest, I added a tangy spoonful of aioli to the dressing, rather than garlic and 1 tablespoon of the mayonnaise. It makes a dramatic difference if you have it; but the standard formula works well, too.
As with many potato salads, this one improves when made ahead for flavors to fully develop. It will last 3-4 days in the fridge—good on a deli plate whenever you are ready.
Roasted Potato Salad
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, skin on
3 carrots, peel
½ cup fennel stems and fronds, chop
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, crush
2 Tbsp plain yogurt
1-2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 small stalks celery, chop
2 green onions, chop
1 Tbsp fresh fennel fronds, light chop
1 Tbsp capers
1 tsp lemon juice or caper juice
Cut potatoes in chunks, place in microwaveable bowl add 2 Tbsp water, and a pinch of salt. Cover and steam for 2 minutes. Place in colander to drain. Repeat next with carrots and fennel.
Distribute the semi-cooked vegetables on a lined baking sheet, toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 425°F for 20 minutes; turn the vegetables . Set broiler to 450°F and cook 5-10 minutes longer until cooked and beginning to brown. Remove and cool.
Meanwhile prepare dressing: combine the mayonnaise, garlic, yogurt and mustard to taste. Add the celery, green onion, fennel fronds or 1 tsp fresh thyme, and capers. Point up with lemon or caper juice, season with salt and pepper.
Place the cooled vegetables in a medium bowl, toss with dressing to coat well. Best made an hour or more ahead. Serves 3-4.
Perhaps you too suffer small twinges when faced with throwing away odd scraps of food. These days I’m becoming increasingly aware of the waste factor and I try to think before chucking food. In the heat of the moment there are still plenty of times when I’ll do the ‘should I, or shouldn’t I?’ shuffle and toss away—only to regret it later.
The latest such event proved to be a good lesson in why I need to pay attention when that twinge hits. It happened while prepping tender red chard leaves for a fast brunch dish. At the time I wasn’t much interested in the stems, they were in my way and I was ready to pitch. I took another look at the intensely beautiful burgundy stems, and in that moment my better self intervened. Instead of sending them arbitrarily to the trash I dropped them in the fridge instead. I’d deal with them later.
The next day I consulted Lindsay-Jean Hard’s Cooking with Scraps cookbook to get her take on chard stems. She says they are well worth roasting, grilling, pickling, even steaming… and my plan began to take shape.
I considered my obvious resources and centered on a small spaghetti squash that needed attention and a jar of fresh mozzarella balls marinating in a yummy garlicky evoo herb blend. I’d keep it simple; I’d steam the squash and stems, liven them up with a little of the marinade, perhaps tuck in a bit of cheese, maybe some fresh basil, and see how that all works.
Despite its appearance, spaghetti squash is very forgiving to prepare—I’ve even had success cooking it in the microwave. For manageability, I prefer smaller squash, 1½ to 2-pounds in size. My plan here is to cook both the squash and stems at the same time in the Instant Pot. It’s the pot-in-pot concept in which you layer 2 or more dishes or items into the pot and steam them simultaneously.
I’ve read cutting spaghetti squash in half, across its mid-line, will cook faster than lengthwise, plus yielding longer strands and using less space. I accumulated over ½ cup of seeds while scraping them out of the squash, and sampled one; they were mild and meaty. Again, my better self stepped forward and I set them aside; they were well worth saving for a short brine and fast roast in the microwave. I figured they might not make it today, but they’re enough for a later snack, a salad topping, or other such. I’m on a roll with scraps—when I’m paying attention there are benefits all over the place!
I move on and place the two squash halves in the Instant Pot on a trivet with 1 cup water. The stems are cut into smaller lengths, tossed with a bit of marinade for flavor and moisture, and sealed in a foil packet. It’s all layered in the Instant Pot and set for 7 minutes under pressure. That’s it. Once cooked and removed, the squash drains a few minutes to release excess moisture from steaming.
Ah, the stems, the stems… what a surprise. They are earthy, tender, and absorb just enough marinade to elevate them straight to delicacy status. The sweet spaghetti squash is a perfect foil, lightly seasoned with salt, red pepper flakes, the marinade further helps to separate the strands. The ruby red stems are folded in like jewels and pieces of mozzarella meld into the warm spaghetti squash. This is an affirmation to slow down and give scraps a chance.
Steamed Spaghetti Squash & Red Chard Stems
1½ – 2 pounds spaghetti squash
stems from 1 bunch red chard Marinade
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic mash & sliver
1 tsp fresh rosemary or thyme
¼ tsp sea salt and coarse ground pepper
1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 fresh round mozzarella or 1 cup other melting cheese
¼ tsp crush red pepper flakes
fresh basil or other herbs
To prepare marinade, combine olive oil, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and whisk in the vinegar. If time permits, marinate the mozzarella overnight in the fridge.
If the chard stems are large, cut them lengthwise into ½” thick strips and then into 1-2” lengths and place in medium bowl. Lightly drizzle with about 1 Tbsp of marinade and toss to coat.
Carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half across its mid-section. Remove seeds and set them aside.
In liner of Instant Pot, add 1 cup water and place trivet in bottom. To preheat, set pot to Sauté More. Wedge the squash halves sideways in the pot on the trivet. Place 18” length of foil on work surface and pile chard stems and marinade in center; wrap and fold foil to seal packet and wedge into pot with squash.
Seal lid and set pot to Hi Pressure for 7-8 minutes, depending on squash size. When time is up, disconnect pot, let stand 5 minutes and then release remaining pressure. Carefully open pot. The squash should be fork tender; remove the squash to drain upside down for 5 minutes. Open foil packet and check stems, they should be tender and fragrant.
To assemble, loosen squash with fork into spaghetti like strands and place in medium bowl. Season lightly with marinade, salt, red pepper flakes, and toss. Gently add the chard stems. Slice the mozzarella and tuck into the warm squash to soften. Sprinkle with fresh herbs. Serves 2.
In Oregon we love our clams. In fact, steamers are so abundant here we clam for them year ‘round. Still, we keep the old rule of thumb in mind that shellfish is best eaten in the colder months, or those ending in R. That tends to cover most troublesome issues like spawning, red tides, warm water temperatures, and such.
Clammers are a regular site on the Oregon coast, in all weather—you’ll see us out there lining the beaches, optimistically digging for our dinner. But living further inland, availability can be tricky and we can’t always pick up and dash to the coast for a fresh supply. Local markets do their best to meet demand, but they must also have contingency plans for when that’s not possible. One option is to bring in fresh meaty Venus clams from as far south as the Mexican Pacific coast.
Such was the case this past week when I thought I’d pick up 2 or 3 dozen fresh clams for an easy dinner. I was excited about trying a new twist on an old favorite steamer clam recipe. It’s a cleaver approach inspired by Lidia Bastianich’s Italian pairing of clams with zucchini.
Well heck, back at the store, there were no Oregon clams. Once again, I am confronted with a Plan B situation. Assured they were very fresh, and they looked quite good, I walked out with fat juicy Venus clams.
Turns out, clams and zucchini are a brilliant combination. They are both mild, neither likes to be overcooked, and they compliment each other beautifully. In this case, they take on eye-rolling proportions when the usual garlicky clam nectar is further embellished with sweet leeks and tomatoes. It’s all transformed into a charming meal as the clams and zucchini mingle and develop more character in this hearty broth.
It’s fast and fabulous. Within 20 minutes it’s ready—the clams have popped open and released their brininess into the pot. You could serve smaller portions with drinks. Or, as a lingering meal, ladle it all into wide bowls over crusty grilled bread. It’s lovely followed by a lush salad of blue cheese, apple and caramelized nuts with vanilla balsamic vinaigrette…
Steamed Clams and Zucchini
Inspired by Steamed Clams & Zucchini in Lidia’s Celebrate like an Italian by Lidia Bastianich
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup leeks, halve lengthwise, cut into ¼” slices or ½ onion, slice
3 cloves garlic, mash & mince
¼ tsp each dried oregano & red pepper flakes
1 cup white wine
1 cup crushed diced tomatoes
½ tsp sea salt
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1½”x ¼” strips
2-3 doz. or more butter or steamer clams
Finish: ½ cup parsley, olive oil for final drizzle, toasted or grilled sliced baguette
In a large pot set over medium heat, pour in olive oil. When hot, add leeks and cook to soften @ 2 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes to taste; , cover and cook 3 minutes. Add the white wine, cook down briefly; add the tomatoes and set to simmer. Cook 5 minutes reducing slightly to a thick broth and set aside.
When ready to serve, bring vegetables up to a simmer and add the zucchini; cook 2-3 minutes, until softened. Increase heat to a boil, add the clams and enough fresh water to barely cover. Add lid, reduce heat slightly, and steam for 5-6 minutes until shells open. Discard any that remain closed. Ladle into shallow bowls over toasted bread. Sprinkle with parsley, drizzle with more olive oil. Pass more bread. Serves 2 or more.
It was my buddy Keith’s birthday this past Sunday (also Groundhog’s Day & Super Bowl Sunday), so there were plenty of reasons to celebrate. For my part, I made my first batch of homemade cheese curds the day before… and oh, were they good!
I won’t bore you with the tedious details. Suffice to say, it was a marathon 8-hour procedure which I further complicated by throwing in a sous vide for temperature control, but well worth it. If you happen to be a curd lover, you might want to check out the thorough directions at New England Cheese Making Supply Co.
Mild cheese curds are at their best when eaten fresh, while their prized squeakiness is at its peak (within a day or so of making). Keith got his lovely curds on time and I had enough left for a very tasty riff on a pizza Margherita. I realize I am past due for a [Friday] pizza blog, so here we go!
I was curious to see what the curds would do on the pizza. Would they melt or turn rubbery? I would keep ingredients on the tame side as to not overwhelm the curds. All that was left was to assemble a few ingredients and give it a quick bake in a hot oven.
I started with a pre-baked crust made earlier in the day. To get my quota of garlic in, I opt for a gentle smear of garlic confit.I like to keep a jar of it in the fridge for occasions such as this, as it gives a mellow garlic flavor that blends well but does not dominate. For a substitute, see the recipe for easy alternative.
In rapid succession, it’s layered with sliced onion and spicy pasilla pepper; then a bit of salt and pepper and a sprinkle of fresh rosemary and thyme. Our featured sliced tomatoes and cheese curds get dotted about; if you don’t have curds, use any fresh cheese, such as mozzarella. It’s finished with a light dusting of Asiago or Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil, and popped into a hot oven until the top is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Once baked, fresh basil is scattered across the top and it’s served.
Final curd outcome: the curds melt slightly, brown on top, and become creamy. Once cooled, they firm up and go back to their original texture, albeit a tad drier. Pretty much what you would expect. No rubbery cheese here!
Pizza with Cheese Curds and Tomatoes
½ recipe pizza dough, or medium purchased
1 Tbsp garlic confit, or 1 Tbsp olive oil heated with 2 cloves garlic, smash
½ onion, slice
½ pasilla or other pepper, slice
salt and pepper
1 tsp fresh rosemary and/or thyme
3 Roma tomatoes, slice
1 cup fresh cheese curds, cut bite-size
½ cup Asiago or Parmesan cheese, grate
2 tsp olive oil
5-6 fresh basil leaves, tear smaller if large
Prepare one 9-10” crust. Preheat oven to 425-450°F.
On fresh or pre-baked crust, evenly spread garlic confit over the surface, coating edges.
Add a layer of sliced onion and pepper. Season lightly with salt, fresh ground pepper, and fresh herbs.
Top with sliced tomatoes and dot with fresh cheese curds. Sprinkle with aged Asiago or Parmesan cheese and drizzle the top with olive oil.
Bake 15-20 minutes, until bubbly on top and crust is golden brown. Scatter with fresh basil leaves. Makes 1 medium pizza.
As much as I love winter soups and stews, this week I reached my limit.
It wasn’t all that evident until I dashed out of the rain and into the market for a few staples, wrapped in a fleece jacket and wool scarf. Straight ahead in the produce section, I came to a screeching stop in front of a large display of fresh mangoes.
I was not prepared for this.
My imagination immediately transformed this sight into a sandy beach lined with palm trees. I felt a warm tropical breeze envelope me… and there was a colorful bowl of fresh mango salsa.
No, this was not hot flashes…
Before I knew it, my cart not only held mangoes, there were limes, peppers, onions and cilantro. Down the aisle at the meat counter, they were featuring pork tenderloins. I’ll have that, thank you. Into the cart it went. This would need a quick and easy marinade; I’d go with a basic sesame-soy blend. Whatever else I needed, was immaterial. I was done.
Back at home, the pork was marinating in no time. I dusted off my old tropical salsa recipe and quickly pulled it together. Although mango is my favorite, I’ve made this with all sorts of fruit, including papaya and peach. Fresh pineapple is a good addition if the fruit is not real ripe.
This refreshing salsa goes with just about anything (I was even considering cereal at one point), from grilled fish to pork or chicken—and any sort of fried food.
The marinade is one I had been working on for Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches, so that will likely still happen. It has a bit of sweetness to help with the caramelization process. I dropped the marinated pork into a hot pan for a quick sear and finished it in a medium hot oven.
The tenderloin barely made it out of the oven before I was wolfing it down with the lovely mango salsa. Ah yes, I was back on that sandy beach with tropical breezes wafting through the palm trees. So nice…
2 large ripe mangoes, peel 1/2″ dice
½ red pepper, seed and dice
½ jalapeno, seed and dice
¼ cup green onions, chop
¼ cup red onion, dice
juice of ½ lime
2 Tbsp cilantro or 1/2 tsp thyme, mince
pinch salt and sugar, to taste
Combine all and chill 2 hours or up to a day ahead. Adjust to taste with lime juice or sugar. Makes about 2 cups
Today the Oregon Ducks are back at the Rose Bowl playing the Wisconsin Badgers. Since it is also New Year’s we are feasting on bowls of Gumbo with Black-eyed Peas (here). The gumbo is rich and hearty with sausage and/or ham. To liven it up, I’m including an insane topping, Brussels Sprout Leaves with Bacon Vinaigrette.
I stumbled upon both ideas in The Nimble Cook, a resourceful book by Ronna Welsh. Her beautiful cookbook is packed with clever solutions for transforming little used or often ignored food into treasured ingredients. It doesn’t take long before her perspective becomes infectious and you begin to view excess and waste far differently.
It had not occurred to me to separate the leaves from the sprouts’ core, but it makes total sense when you are merely removing the larger top layer for a fast 1-minute sear. That’s it. The rest of the brussels sprouts can be cut up and included or saved for another meal. Since I was looking for a small amount for lively garnish, this suited my needs. Besides, I love the idea of the fresh sprout leaves and bright bacon vinaigrette mingling with the black-eyed peas.
Ronna likes to work with concepts that keep her ideas simple and frequently don’t require recipes. The bacon vinaigrette is so simple it hardly needs a recipe. I ended up searing about 3 cups of cut-up leaves, for 1 minute in a drizzle of hot bacon fat. I added a spoonful of the vinaigrette to the skillet to heat and coat the leaves and that was it.
The leaves remain bright green for several hours. Here’s my version of Ronna’s brilliant ideas.
3 slices thick smoked bacon, or ⅓ cup crisp bacon, 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp bacon fat
1 clove garlic, peel, flatten
3 cups brussels sprout leaves, cut and torn bite size, from @ 12 individual brussels sprouts Bacon Vinaigrette
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp whole-grain mustard
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp bacon fat
Cut up the bacon and cook until crisp, separately reserve the bacon bits and fat.
To make the vinaigrette: combine the vinegar and mustard, whisk in olive oil and salt until thick. Whisk in the warm bacon fat until well combined and thick. Set aside
In a wide skillet over medium, heat 1 tsp bacon fat. Add the garlic clove and increase heat to high. Toss the garlic, when aromatic remove it.
Add the leaves, toss to coat and sear for 1 minute. Add a spoonful of vinaigrette and remove pan from heat. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Will remain green for several hours. Combine the crisp bacon with the leaves and serve. Makes 1 generous cup.
Who doesn’t like meatloaf? Besides, you just might get lucky and have some left behind for the next day.
Since I prefer the leftovers, I like to begin there. I cook the meatloaf on a baking sheet with sides exposed to the heat, thus ensuring flavors are sealed in and the loaf does not simmer in its own juices.
This rustic treatment produces a solid loaf that slices thin the next day and brings an interior dotted with sautéed green leeks and cremini mushrooms for color, flavor, and texture. If you prefer, the ground beef could be any combination including part turkey, chicken, and/or pork.
For a quick mix of ingredients I like to get my hands into the action… there’s also an egg for moisture, a dash of Worcestershire, and a handful of either dried or fresh breadcrumbs for binder. That’s it.
The meat mixture is shaped into an oval on a parchment lined baking sheet and topped with a few slices of coppa ham or prosciutto for interest – rather than ketchup. It’s the ideal time to throw a few vegetables onto the pan for roasting without any extra effort. Here, young carrots, sliced onion, and small red potatoes are tossed with olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper and tucked around the loaf.
While the meatloaf bakes, give the vegetables an occasional turn for even cooking. Soon the homey scents of meatloaf will fill the air…
Sheet Pan Meatloaf with Roasted Vegetables
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ leek or onion, slice
½ cup cremini mushrooms, quarter
1 tsp fresh thyme
1½ lean ground beef
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
½ tsp each salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
½ cup breadcrumbs, approximate
4-6 slices coppa or prosciutto ham, to cover top Vegetables
4-5 red potatoes, halve or quarter
4-6 young whole carrots, scraped
½ onion, sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
Line a baking sheet with parchment.
For meatloaf, sauté the leek and mushrooms in olive oil to soften and release mushroom moisture adding salt, pepper and thyme. Cool.
To assemble meatloaf, in mixing bowl break up the ground beef. Using hands, mix in the sautéed vegetables, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and beaten egg. Add enough breadcrumbs to absorb and bind all. Shape and mold the mixture on baking sheet into an oval loaf. Cover top with coppa or prosciutto.
Toss the potatoes, onion, and carrots with olive oil, salt, pepper and part of rosemary. Arrange around the meatloaf and sprinkle with remaining rosemary.
Bake at 375°F for 1½ hours, turn the vegetables occasionally to cook evenly. Serves 3-4
Once again, yesterday I was reminded why I like brussels sprouts, especially on a day like Thanksgiving. As a fall vegetable they really work, they have lots of flavor and I love their green addition, but I’m disappointed when they turn out bitter and either undercooked and hard, or overcooked and mushy.
Bacon is always a solution, its smokiness can mask some of that off flavor, and roasting sprouts is an interesting compromise. That is, until the oven is taken over by turkey and other sides and sprouts get shifted down in priority.
So, here’s my solution. I’ve discovered that brussels sprouts cook in a flash in the microwave, and when an everyday balsamic vinegar is pulled into the equation, things really shift. The sweet-sour action tends to balance out any potential bitterness, and used judiciously, balsamic vinegar adds dimension and is hardly detectable.
I dribble on a dash of balsamic when precooking the halved brussels sprouts for 2 to 3 minutes in the microwave—before all the madness begins. Then, it’s a simple matter of quickly reheating them with the precooked smoky bacon and perhaps a bit of onion, plus another dribble of balsamic for re-enforcement. Give it a taste before serving and add another dribble, if so inclined.
It’s that easy and so tasty.
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic
1-pound brussels sprouts, trim and cut in half lengthwise
3 slices pepper bacon, cut into strips
½ small red onion, peel and slice
1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
½ tsp each salt and pepper
2-3 tsp balsamic vinegar, to taste
Ahead, cook bacon in microwave between toweling until crisp, about 2 minutes total. In microwaveable bowl, toss onion with 1 tsp oil and heat in microwave until it softens and begins to color, 2 minutes. Set aside.
Toss the brussels sprouts with remaining olive oil, salt and pepper, and 1 teaspoon balsamic. Microwave 2-3 minutes uncovered. Set aside until needed.
To finish, reheat the sprouts with 1 additional teaspoon balsamic, the bacon and onion on top in microwave, 1-2 minutes. Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar to taste, toss and serve. Serves 4.
I’m embarrassed to admit I have sorrel growing in my garden that I have barely touched. I planted it early in the year, and I’ve been reluctant to harvest much. It is so utterly beautiful, I’ve been content to gaze on their bright green, red-etched leaves rather than eat them.
Turns out sorrel is a perennial herb that grows well in the Pacific Northwest. It is related to rhubarb (of course) and buckwheat (brilliant!). Sorrel is well known for its sour qualities and apparently, my particular red-veined variety is regarded as milder than most (indeed!).
Even though my tiny garden is pretty much done for the season, sorrel’s hearty leaves continue to grow like crazy. Armed with increased incentive, I have taken to clipping the leaves for salad. Apparently, they can become tough, but I’ve yet to experience that issue. Thus far, the leaves are crisper than spinach with a pleasing tartness.
Here’s a rundown on a recent salad featuring the beauteous sorrel with other seasonal greens. I began with a juicy Honey Crisp apple thinking its residual sweetness would offset any lurking bitterness. To complement the apple I went with trusty Oregon Blue cheese—its robust, creaminess was an awesome match.
I brought it all together with a bold sweet-tart Balsamic-Vanilla Dressing laced with nutmeg, and finished it with a sprinkling of caramelized walnuts. Oh, yes, let’s not forget freshly ground mixed peppercorns, the crowning touch.
Fall Sorrel Salad
8 – 10 ounces, combination of sorrel and seasonal greens
1 fresh apple such as Honey Crisp
½ cup crumbled Oregon blue cheese, Danish blue, or Maytag
½ cup caramelized nuts
freshly ground mixed peppercorns Balsamic Vanilla Dressing
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
salt and plenty of fresh ground pepper
¾ cup oil blend, (such as ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup vegetable oil, and ¼ cup walnut oil)
For dressing: place all through salt and pepper in cruet or jar and shake; add oil and shake well. Adjust seasoning.
To prepare apple ahead: wash and dry, quarter and remove core, and leave skin on. Cut into 1/4″ width slices. Dip in 1 tsp lemon juice and 1 cup water, drain and cover with paper toweling.
Wash, dry and trim greens, place in bowl and chill.
To serve, toss the greens lightly with dressing, scatter with remaining items and serve. Pass additional dressing. Serves 2-4