When he was working as a caterer, Patrick O'Connell would often study the cookbooks at his local library during his downtime. He discovered his affinity for French food while reading the works of legendary writer Elizabeth David; he especially loved the sorrel sauce he found in her 1960 book, French Provincial Cooking. When he opened The Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia, he experimented with sorrel in lots of different ways, eventually creating this exquisite, tangy mousse.
Recipes from the French Masters
1 1/2 cups stemmed sorrel leaves
1 cup chicken stock or vegetable broth
3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1 ounce caviar (optional)
How to Make It
In a blender, puree the sorrel with 3/4 cup of the chicken stock until smooth. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining 1/4 cup of chicken stock and let stand until softened, about 2 minutes. Microwave the gelatin at medium power just until melted, 5 to 10 seconds. Add the gelatin mixture to the blender along with 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and the red wine vinegar. Season with salt and white pepper and puree until very smooth. Add 1 cup of the heavy cream and pulse just until very lightly whipped, about 1 minute. Transfer the sorrel mousse to a measuring cup and pour into 6 small glasses. Refrigerate the mousse until set, about 4 hours.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the remaining 1/4 cup of cream and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with the crème fraîche to soft peaks. Season with salt and white pepper. Dollop the lemon cream on the mousse and top with the caviar. Serve chilled.
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