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New potatoes in sorrel sauce

(article, Deborah Madison)

Sorrel has been up for a while, but now come the first new potatoes, and sorrel and potatoes are a match worth making — whether in a classic potato-sorrel soup or in another dish. 

Potatoes are starchy and subtle, while sorrel is sharp and bright; together they make a rather attractive unit in the mouth, balancing out the play of such distinct tastes. Dishes that mix these two vegetables are usually good served chilled. That dull green sorrel-tinted potato soup can be the most refreshing one you’ll eat when the early summer weather turns hot — and so can this dish of potatoes.

[%image reference-image float=right width=400 caption="Uncooked sorrel sauce contrasts nicely with new potatoes."] 

When raw, sorrel is so intensely sharp that I never thought of using it uncooked in a sauce. Even when I saw Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe in his book Plenty, I had my doubts. But I decided to give it a try. 

Well, a raw-sorrel sauce turns out to be so clean, fresh, and (surprisingly) not too sharp, it's become my new favorite summer condiment. It’s unbelievably easy to make, and will give you another reason, should you need one, to plant a sorrel plant. 

Sometimes I augment this sauce by adding watercress, parsley, and chives, but sometimes I use sorrel alone. The tart and peppery qualities are softened by walnut oil and the yolk of a hard-cooked egg. Try it on beets, over a salad of cucumber and purslane, on green beans, on salsify, and over grilled or poached fish.

New Potatoes With Sorrel Sauce with Watercress, Parsley, and Chives	
Serves 4

A version of this recipe appeared in Vegetable Literacy.

⅓ cup Greek-style yogurt
⅓ cup sour cream
2 tsp. walnut oil or olive oil
1 hard-cooked egg yolk
1 cup packed sorrel leaves, stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
⅔ cup parsley leaves
1 cup watercress leaves
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. round, waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Golds, German Butterballs, or fingerlings
Sea salt
2 Tbsp. snipped chives

Combine the yogurt, sour cream, oil, and egg yolk in a food processor and purée, then add the sorrel leaves and pulse again to break it up. Roughly chop the parsley leaves and watercress to give them a head start and add them as well. Pulse until you have a green purée, then scrape it into a bowl. Taste for salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Scrub the potatoes, leaving the skins on if they’re organic, then slice them into rounds a scant ½-inch thick. Put them in a pot with cold water to cover along with a tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer until tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 20 minutes. Drain them well. (Alternatively, you can steam them.) 

Line a platter with the sauce, then scatter the potatoes over. Or serve the potatoes and pass the sauce separately. In either case, the heat of the vegetables will warm the sauce and bring out its aromas. Garnish with the chives before serving.

reference-image, l