This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
Sorrel was always cultivated in old-time gardens, but it is now seldom found except in the wild state, in stubby or stony fields and along fence rows. Sorrel may be used as a salad plant, either alone, dressed simply with oil and vinegar, or in combination. Potato or egg salad or shredded cabbage combined with green peppers are delicious with it, while any kind of fish salad is improved by the addition of a small quantity. It is also used in soups, "cream of sorrel" being a favorite in France. To make this soup, cook a cupful of chopped sorrel in a tablespoonful of butter, add a little sugar, one-half tea-spoonful of vinegar, a teaspoonful of salt and two table-spoonfuls of uncoated rice, then a pint of boiling water. Let simmer until the rice is soft. Add three cupfuls of veal or chicken stock and strain. Beat an egg yolk slightly; add a cupful of light cream and turn into the soup, stir until it becomes hot, strain and serve.
A combination of dandelion and sorrel as greens is delicious, the flavors supplementing each other especially well.
Plantain is a familiar dooryard weed which grows in nearly all localities. This weed may be used either as a salad or a green. If it is to figure in a salad, only the young leaves should be used, and, as the plant is rather lacking in flavor, a dash of curry powder and Worcestershire sauce may be added to good advantage with French dressing. An excellent combination consists of one-half as much shredded plantain as celery, with a dash of minced green pepper, put together with a French dressing. As a green it may be used either plain, with salt pork or ham, or in combination with dandelion and horseradish, equal parts being used of the plantain and dandelion and one-third of horseradish. Plantain may be obtained throughout the season.
Pigweed was formerly cultivated in gardens, like spinach, but it is now found wild in corn fields, vegetable patches, barnyards and almost everywhere. The leaves should be gathered young and cooked like any green.
Whereas dandelions are now generally used, they are usually so unattractively prepared that few people really like them. When cooked as greens, they should be first scalded., then cooked, like other greens, slowly in their own juices, then chopped fine and seasoned well with salt, pepper and butter. If dandelions are to be served as a salad, only the most tender plants should be used.
The tiny young leaves of dandelion may be used as a green with any vegetable salad - a simple dressing of oil, vinegar, salt and pepper being sufficient. Boiled finnan haddie with a lemon sauce is delicious served on a bed of dandelion greens, while any left-over greens may be moulded and served cold with mayonnaise or boiled salad dressing. Dandelions are also delicious in combination with an equal quantity of spinach.
Cowslip, or marsh marigold, is one of the first greens to appear and is in season from the last of March through April. It is always found in moist places and can be identified by its smooth, dark green leaves, about two inches in diameter, almost round, save for a deep notch where they are joined to the stem, and by its brilliant yellow flowers, in shape much like a buttercup.
Cowslips are always used as greens, and a dash of nutmeg should be added with the other seasonings. The dish will be greatly improved if it is bestrewn with a little hard-cooked egg at serving time. It may be made into a soup, like a cream of sorrel, a cupful of cooked and sifted cowslip pulp being substituted for the sorrel, and a slice of onion and a bit of bay leaf being added for the seasoning. Cooked and moulded the cowslip makes a delicious salad, which should be served with boiled dressing and small balls of cottage cheese dusted with paprika.