Sorrel is tricky, in my opinion. When you as much as get it near heat, it wilts into a slippery grayish mass. When you use it raw, all but the smallest leaves can be on the wrong side of tender. Yet I keep coming back to sorrel: Its racy, fresh tang makes me happy just about anywhere I taste it. And classic Mexican roasted tomatillo salsa is the most delicious place I’ve found to weave it in, adding its fresh green lemoniness to an already vibrant condiment. A condiment I find perfect for everything from grilled vegetables to steak tacos to the pan-fried (or, even better, stir-fried) shrimp I’m describing here. It’s spectacular spooned on broiled tofu or roasted or steamed white-flesh sweet potatoes (the ones they call “Japanese” in my farmers market, camote morado in my Mexican market). Or stirred into creamy poblano chile soup. Or mixed with mayonnaise for a dynamic dressing for sturdy greens or potato salad. I have the great chef and cookbook author Cindy Pawlcyn for bringing to light for me this brilliant marriage between tomatillo and sorrel.
- 6medium (about 12 ounces)tomatillos, husked and rinsed
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- Fresh hot green chile to taste (usually 1 jalapeño or 2 serranos), stemmed
- 1cup roughly chopped, loosely packed fresh sorrel leaves (if sorrel is out of season, wild arugula and wild watercress from the farmers market also work)
- 2 to 3tablespoons olive oil
- 1¼ to 1 ½ pounds (30 to 35) medium-large shrimp, peeled (leaving the final tail segment on for appearance sake) and deveined if you wish
- 1medium onion, sliced ¼-inch thick
Heat the broiler and adjust the shelf to its highest position. Spread the tomatillos, garlic and chiles on a baking sheet, slide under the hot broiler and roast until the tomatillos are soft and lightly blackened in spots (about 5 minutes per side—the garlic and chiles should be done in about the same amount of time). Cool to room temperature, scoop into a blender jar (including any juices from the tomatillos), add the sorrel and pulse until you have a puree that’s nearly smooth. Add a little water (usually about 2 tablespoons) to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency. Taste and season with a little salt if it needs it (believe it or not, sometimes it doesn’t need any).
In a wok or very large (12-inch) skillet set over medium-high, heat enough oil to coat the bottom (it takes less oil for wok cooking and I like the texture of the shrimp better from a wok). Add the onion and stir-fry until richly browned but still crunchy, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the shrimp with salt, add them to the onions and continue to stir-fry until the shrimp are just barely cooked, about 5 minutes more. If they’re still a tiny bit translucent in the middle, they’ll coast to perfect doneness as you divide them between warm serving plates. Spoon the salsa over the shrimp and you’re ready to serve.
Love your show. I grow sorrel in my garden and it never occurred to me to make a salsa. I tried this recipe and it was so yummy. Thanks for sharing especially with someone who LOVES Mexican food!