Sorrel’s up – as sure a sign as any that Spring has finally Sprung – and at long last !
Rumex acetosa or garden sorrel
20. To butter Plaice vpon Sorrell sops.
Boyle your Plaice in faire water and Salt, and a fewe sweete Hearbes and Vinegar, then take them vp and dry them in a faire cloath, then dish them in sippets in the bottom of a dish then power vpon it a quarter of a pint of the yuce of Sorrell, and set it vpoon a chafindish of coales, and when you bee ready to serve it, poure vpon it a little butter drawne thicke with the yuce of Sorrell, then strowe grose Pepper and Salt, put sippets about it and serve it then to the table hotte, your sauce will looke very green and the fish east pleasant and short.
– 1621. John Murrell. A Delightfull daily exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen. Falconwood Press: 1990. p. 38.
Plaice is a flat fish
sops are pieces of bread to sop up the juices
Yuce is juice
sippets are small sops – small pieces of bread – rather more like large croutons
Just a few leaves in a salad perks it right up, all spring and summer and fall long.
Back in the long ago olden days – the ’80’s – I pretty much cooked my through the McCalls Cooking School binders.
In 1986 I copied out the recipe for Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits , which on their flip side went by the alias
“Southern Raised Biscuits”
1 cup buttermilk
4 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 Tbl sugar
1/3 cup shortening (I now use butter)
2 Tbl butter, melted
Heat the buttermilk in a small pan until bubbles form around the edges – it will curdle. Cool to lukewarm
Grease 2 large cookie sheets
Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a small bowl. Add he sugar and stir to dissolve completely. Stir this into the lukewarm buttermilk.
Cut the shortening into he flour with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles course corn meal.
Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk mixture all at once. Stir in with a fork to mix well.
Dough will be stiff. Turn out to floured board and knead until smooth – about 5 minutes.
Using a rolling pin, roll our from the center to 1/2 thickness. With floured cutter (or sharp knife) cut into 2″ biscuits (I like square ones).
Place biscuits on prepared cookie sheet 1 inch apart.
Prick the tops with a fork 1,2, 3 .
Cover them with a towel and let them rise about 1/2 an hour., until their about 1 ” high
Preheat the oven to 400°
Before baking brush tops with melted butter
Bake biscuits 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm, with butter and honey…..makes about 30 biscuits.
McCalls Cooking School Old Fashioned Buttermilk Biscuits Breads4.
These are not the only biscuits….my favorite quick and easy biscuit is made with Bakewell Cream.
What is Bakewell Cream?
Bakewell Cream is a variety of baking powder developed by Bangor, Maine chemist Byron H. Smith in response to a shortage of cream of tartar in the U.S. during World War II. It is sold throughout the U.S., but is most popular in the state of Maine.
It sure does make a nice biscuit. But buying a can is now a commitment to biscuits – I’d hate to have throw any away. It’s available through King Arthur Flour, but I’ve also picked it up in the baking section of my local Stop & Shop.
Bakewell Cream Biscuits
4 c. flour
4 tsp. Bakewell Cream
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shortening ( I use butter)
1 1/2 c. milk
- Preheat oven to 475°.
- Light grease 2 cookie sheets (or use parchment)
- Mix together with a whisk the flour, Bakewell Cream, baking soda, and salt.
- Cut in with a pastry blender or 2 knives the shortening or butter until it resembles cornmeal
- Add in the milk to a well in the center all at once.and mix together with a fork. You really want to combine the ingredients, you don’t want to really mix and create lots of gluten strands. Light biscuits have undeveloped gluten! Mixing makes biscuits tough.
- Pat out to a floured board. With a rolling pin, start in the center and roll outward so that it’s 1/2 inch thick.
- Cut biscuits with floured cutter or a sharp knife – I like square biscuits, no re-rolling scraps.
- Put about 1 inch apart on the cookie sheets.
- Put the biscuits in the hot oven and turn the timer on for 5 minutes.
- At the 5 minute mark turn off the oven and leave the biscuits in for another 5-10 minutes until golden and lovely.
- Serve hot with butter and honey.
ALSO – You can freeze the unbaked biscuits you might not be using right away….mix, shape and freeze. Bake them from the frozen state, 8 minutes instead of 5.