Thursday, March 6, 2008
The ancient plum tree standing sentry over our vegetable garden is shouting: "Spring is here, Baby!"
The lemon verbena begs to differ.
This weekend: the Official Change from Winter Garden to Spring Garden. Today the beds are mostly empty, waiting for chicken manure enrichment and planting. One broad band of greenery, however, remains. Ever and always we have sorrel.
Through winter rains and summer heat, the sorrel thrives. Would that I knew more ways to use it. I love the flavor but the olive drab color it acquires when heated is more than a little off-putting. Recently I searched one of my favorite cookbooks -- Richard Olney's "Simple French Cooking" -- for sorrel inspiration and found this oddly appealing little luncheon dish. I served it with some slices of Black Forest Ham from the deli and everyone pronounced it delicious, although one friend noted of its combination of khaki-colored cooked sorrel and browned Parmesan: "It looks as if it should be called Eggs in Camouflage."
I punished her by making her tote home a big bag of sorrel leaves.
Eggs Stuffed with Sorrel
1/4 cup olive oil
6 ounces tender young sorrel, stems removed, washed, sponged dry in a towel and finely chopped
6 hard-boiled eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Oil the bottom of a gratin dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Line with 1/3 of the chopped sorrel and sprinkle lightly with salt. Halve the eggs and, with a fork, mash together the yolks, the remaining sorrel, 3/4 of the cheese and salt and pepper to taste; then work in 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil--enough to bind the mixture. Stuff the halved whites with the mixture, packing gently and mounding the stuffing with a teaspoon. Arrange them on the bed of sorrel, sprinle with the remaining Parmesan, dribble over a bit of olive oil. and bake in a hot oven (400-425 degrees) for about 15 minutes.