Monday, March 29, 2010

Clean Greens: Sorrel

While the calendar tells us that it's spring, we've got a long way before the season's beauties, asparagus and strawberries, populate our markets. No, in these cold gray, March days, we need to console ourselves with the variety of greens that have begun to sprout. Alongside the celeriac, turnips, and potatoes, we've begun to see the season's early dwellers: sweet spinach, spicy watercress, and lemon-y sorrel. Sorrel is an unusual green with a tartness that is uncommon among its brethren. The flavor is clean and refreshing - evoking the verdant days we'll soon see.

At Green City Market, Three Sisters had beautiful bunches of a ruby-flecked variety, with a feathery shape. A twitter about my purchase of this beauty inspired some questions about how to use it. Years back, I had found a deliciously simply hors d'oeuvres in the dearly departed Gourmet: wrap a beet wedge and cube of fresh chevre with a sorrel leaf. Beet lovers take heed. A delicious treat, but we're not hosting a cocktail soiree anytime soon. I often turn sorrel into soup, but this tiny little bunch would make only about a teacup full. Luckily, on this same Saturday, I also bought a bit of La Quercia prosciutto and some eggs. With these two accompaniments, I set out to create an Easter brunch recipe: Baked Prosciutto Cups with Sorrel and Coddled Eggs.

Baked Prosciutto Cups with Sorrel and Coddled Eggs
Serves 4

4 slices of prosciutto
8 sorrel leaves
4 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Push the prosciutto slices into 4 muffin cups of a tin. You could do this with silicone muffin cups. Set another tin or muffin cups on top of the prosciutto. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cups are formed and are slightly crisped. Fill a small baking dish with hot water. Lay the sorrel leaves in a x pattern in each of the prosciutto cups. Crack an egg on top of each cup and set into the baking dish. Place the pan into the oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes or until the eggs are set. Serve with bread for dipping.

NOTE: Despite the confidence that I have in the eggs that I buy from the farmers' market, I prefer not to serve the little locavore undercooked eggs. For him, I would fill the cups with scrambled eggs.

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