Sorrel leaves give this salad a lemony bite, which is augmented by a lemony dressing. Use any lettuce, but the red-leaf types contrast well with sorrel’s green. Homemade parsnip croutons are semicrisp, butter-poached nuggets that take the place of croutons made of bread. You’ll find the parsnip version absorbs much less butter than bread croutons would, and any butter left over will be golden-brown, have fabulous flavor, and be worthy of further use.
• 1 medium parsnip
• 1/4 pound butter (1 stick)
• Coarse sea salt
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 1 clove garlic, grated
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 head red lettuce
• 6 sorrel leaves, each about the size of your hand
1. To prepare the homemade croutons, cut the parsnip into uniform 1/2-inch cubes. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the foam starts to subside. Turn to low heat and add the parsnips. The butter should cover them. Simmer in the butter until the cubes are a pale golden-brown, stirring occasionally and making sure the cubes don’t burn and the butter doesn’t foam up and overflow. Remove the cubes with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel, and then sprinkle the croutons with a pinch of salt.
2. Make the dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, a grating of pepper and a pinch of salt. Wash and dry the lettuce. Wash, dry and de-stem the sorrel leaves, and then chiffonade them (cut them into thin, ribbon-like strips).
3. To make the sorrel salad, tear the lettuce leaves into small pieces and place them in a bowl. Add 1/2 the sorrel and toss with all but 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Arrange the greens on a flat serving dish. Distribute the rest of the sorrel leaves over the salad and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Scatter the homemade parsnip croutons on top. Serve immediately.
Want to learn more about cooking with Parsnips and Sorrel? Read Growing and Cooking with Parsnips and Sorrel for more information and delicious recipes.
Barbara Damrosch writes at Four Season Farm in Maine, where spring comes late and sorrel’s early greening in the garden is much welcomed. She and her husband, Eliot Coleman, are co-authors of The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook.