Common sorrel has been cultivated for centuries, although its popularity has decreased considerably over time. Because of the mildly acidic taste, it quenches thirst, and may be helpful in boosting the appetite. The leaves are edible and may be added to salads to sharpen the taste. They are often puréed in soups and sauces and is the characteristic ingredient in shav. The plant contains oxalic acid, which produces its characteristic flavour, and so may be contraindicated in people with rheumatic-type complaints, kidney or bladder stones, and the like. It is also a laxative.

Basic French Sorrel Sauce

You can use the sauce as-is, as a side vegetable, as a base for soups, over fish or chicken, or folded into omelets.

  • 1 bunch sorrel (eight to ten ounces)
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon crème fraiche or heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Wash and de-rib the sorrel. Place it and the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir from time to time as the sorrel begins to wilt.

2. When it has given up most of its liquid, stir in the crème fraiche and continue cooking until all the leaves have wilted and turned from bright to dark olive green.

3. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Makes four servings.

Sorrel Omelet


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cream
  • 1 cup sorrel, cleaned and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Shred sorrel. In a heavy pan, heat half the butter and add sorrel and salt. Cook for about ten minutes, while stirring. Combine the eggs and cream in a bowl, beating gently. Add the sorrel mixture and combine. Add the remaining butter to a skillet and heat until butter is slightly browned. Add the egg mixture and stir briskly with the back of a fork or spoon until the eggs are evenly spread on the bottom of the skillet. Keep moving the unset eggs around with the utensil smoothly until there is no liquid left. Do not overcook. Shake the pan gently over the heat a few times. Fold the omelet over in half and serve.

Sorrel-Wrapped Salmon Steaks

This recipe came from an Evanston farmer’s market customer, and has since been passed on to many more. Everyone who has tried it has raved, and we trust that you will too. The leaves melt into the fish, giving it a lemony tang.

  • 4 salmon steaks (halibut also works well)
  • 12 sorrel leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Wash and pat dry the salmon steaks.

2. Wash and dry the sorrel leaves. (De-rib if they are large.) Wrap each steak in three (or more) leaves. Brush with olive oil.

3. Place on the grill or under a broiler about five minutes per side, or until done. Makes four servings.

Sorrel Soup

This is the classic French way to prepare sorrel. The more cream and potato you add, the milder the sorrel taste will be.

  • 1 bunch (eight ounces) sorrel
  • 6 cups water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound potatoes, cubed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream

1. Wash the sorrel and de-rib the leaves if necessary. Put it in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the sorrel has melted into a purée and nearly all of its liquid has evaporated.

2. Add the water and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook over low heat until the potatoes are cooked through — about fifteen minutes.

3. Combine the eggs and crème fraiche in a warmed serving bowl. Mix until well blended. Add a ladle of the potato and sorrel mixture and blend well. Pour in remaining potato and sorrel mixture and serve immediately. Makes six to eight servings.

Sorrel, Radicchio, and Lettuce Salad

If you like a salad with attitude, then this is for you!

  • 1/2 bunch sorrel (four to five ounces)
  • 1 small head radicchio
  • 1 head of romaine or other soft lettuce
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons snipped chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

1. Wash and dry the sorrel. De-rib and tear the leaves into small, bite-size pieces.

2. Separate the radicchio leaves, rinse, and dry. Cut larger leaves into small pieces. Do the same with the lettuce. Combine all leaves in a salad bowl and refrigerate.

3. Place egg in boiling water and cook for one minute. Run under cold water.

4. Crack the egg into a food processor or blender, scraping white from shell. Process until fluffy, about sixty seconds.

5. Add anchovies, Parmesan, vinegar, lemon juice, one tablespoon chives, and hot pepper sauce. Process thirty seconds. Then, with machine running, slowly add the oils. Chill.

6. To serve, thin the sauce to taste with a little boiling water. Spoon about half the dressing over the leaves and toss. Add the remaining tablespoon of chives to the salad and toss. Makes four to six servings.

Sorrel Pesto

This pesto is particularly good with fish. Try it with grilled salmon.

  • 3 cups loosely packed sorrel
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 half-inch-thick salmon steaks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reserve four sorrel leaves for garnish and blanch the rest in the water for five seconds. Drain and run under cold water.

2. Drain the sorrel well and place in a food processor or blender with the parsley, garlic, olive oil, and salt. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides.

3. Grill the salmon steaks until just cooked, about five minutes a side. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Cut the reserved sorrel leaves crosswise into thin strips. Divide the salmon steaks among four plates, top with a dollop of pesto, and sprinkle with the sorrel strips. Serve immediately. Makes four servings.

Leek and Sorrel Pancakes with Smoked Salmon

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 cups chopped leeks
  • 2 cups roughly chopped sorrel
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon
  • Sour cream for garnish
  • Chopped chives for garnish

1. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add butter. After butter melts, add leeks and sauté until tender.

2. Add the sorrel. When the sorrel has “melted,” remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Add flour; whisk until smooth. Add cooled leek-sorrel mixture.

4. Heat griddle over medium-high heat. Add about one tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, drop about two tablespoons batter per pancake onto griddle. Cook until brown. Turn and cook until brown on the other side.

5. Remove from griddle and top with salmon, sour cream, and chives. Serve immediately. Makes four to six servings.