Salmon with sorrel defined an era — roughly the late 1980s — and a trend: nouvelle cuisine. The “new cooking” called for fresher ingredients, simpler sauces, quicker techniques. Producing wisdom (crisp!) and folly (minuscule!).
Once I took an old friend out for nouvelle. When her dish arrived, she blasted the dining room with a long and loud guffaw. She was right: Three marbles of puree make a meager meal.
Some innovations — like lighter fare — now count as commonsense. Others — like wide, white plates dotted with pale, precious portions — faded away. Salmon with sorrel still clings to many a menu.
I read that old recipe: It’s a slip of fish, barely seared, wriggling in buttery cream sauce. Delicious, no doubt, but dated. I tried a bolder version, punctuated with lemon, pepper and garlic; it’s crisp outside, flaky within. Not nouvelle. But, for our time, new.