I’m very fond of sorrel, but does have a certain unrelenting quality. It produces the first green shoot in the garden, the harbinger of all the goodies to come, I welcome it with enthusiasm. After a few weeks, my enthusiasm wanes slightly, as, in spite of repeated pickings, it keeps on growing, and by halfway through the summer, I am cutting it with hedge clippers and throwing the clippings straight onto the compost heap.
However, the other day, I had an idea. I wanted to add another dimension to a potato soup based on one I had in Italy a few yeas back, the simplest potato soup in the world, made of just very good potatoes and the water they were cooked in. It doesn’t sound much, but, believe you me, it works, just so long as the potatoes cut the mustard, as it were., but perhaps it is a bit plain for the dinner table. So sorrel ice cream was born. I was rather pleased with the result, although I probably shouldn’t say so. It’s never going to be a soup of beauty, except in the mouth.
750g very well flavored potatoes (eg Charlotte, Nicola, Kerr’s Pink, Red Duke of York
Small knob of butter
Salt & white pepper
Chopped chives or parsley
Big bush of sorrel
150ml double cream
50ml full cream milk
Boil the potatoes in their skins. When properly cooked – 15 or 20 minutes – so that you can easily put a fork into them, take them off the heat and remove the potatoes. KEEP the cooking water. Cool potatoes slightly. As soon as you can handle them, peel them. Push through a potato ricer, or, better still, a sieve. Thin to double cream texture with the cooking water. Season. Whisk in the knob pf butter and stir in the chives or parsely.
While the potatoes are cooking, make the ice cream. Whizz the sorrel, cream and milk in a blender until you have a fine green mixture. Whip the eggs until pale and frothy. Still whipping, add the cream/milk/sorrel mixture. Season with salt. Decant into ice cream machine, and churn until suitable ice creamed.
Reheat potato soup, divide among the plates and plop a well formed, mini rugby ball of sorrel ice cream in the center of each. Hurry to the table so that the ice cream hasn’t completely dissolved by the time it gets in front of your guests.