They erupted in early spring, their arching dark-green curlicues and hollow stems betraying them among the lawn grasses long before their pungent waft of onion. My sister and I called these wild chives ‘onion grass,” and we ate shafts and shafts as we foraged outside our New Jersey home for four-leaf clovers and cowering purple and yellow violets.
One day my grandfather pointed out the easily recognized arrow shape of wild sorrel, a lemony green fix to cleanse the mouth of onion and too much sun. I was hooked for life.
I find the fresh tart flavor of sorrel extraordinarily refreshing, especially with rich or stodgy foods—a sour taste, like arugula, that I adore. I no longer have access to sorrel foraged or from a garden, but I am extremely fortunate to live within blocks of the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan, where beautiful fresh sorrel is usually available spring, summer, and fall—not just trimmed but completely washed as well.
The intriguing medley of flavors in this suave noodle pudding—tart sorrel and sweet, caramelized onions, mellowed by cream—was inspired by Deborah Madison’s opulent Sorrel-Onion Tart in The Greens Cookbook (which was, in turn, inspired by Richard Olney’s Simple French Food.) Serve it as a starter in a special Shavuot dinner. It also makes an elegant lunch or brunch or a fine, light summer supper.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Generously grease a shallow
Bake for about 1 hour, until firm and golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 20 minutes, until the kugel is set. Slice the kugel in the pan, or, if you prefer, run a knife around the edges and invert onto a serving plate. Serve warm (reheat if necessary).
© 2008 Jayne Cohen. All rights reserved.