Lightly creamy and green, schav (pronounced shahv) is a chilly soup that will be instantly loved by some and perhaps only gradually embraced by others. Based on the long, slender spinachlike herb-vegetable we know as sour grass or sorrel, it is thickened with beaten egg yolk, its tingling sour edge mellowed by a few exquisitely aromatic Polish or Russian dried mushrooms.
Those with a strong love of sour add a few drops of lemon juice or sour salt to the broth, while cooks with milder tastes opt for a pinch or two of sugar. A final glossing of sour cream just as the soup is served adds an extra luxurious touch, and garnishes of minced hard-cooked egg, cucumber and scallions may be on hand for added interest.
The verdant gazpacho is especially satisfying when eaten with dark, moist Russian or German pumpernickel — a combination that works as a refreshing lunch or light supper on a scorching midsummer day, when sorrel, botanically known as Rumex acetosa, is especially abundant.
Mail order: For sorrel, in spring and summer, Melissa’s Produce, call 800-588-0151.
Mimi Sheraton is an award-winning cookbook author and former restaurant critic for the New York Times.
Excerpt from “1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die: A Food Lover’s Life List,” © 2014 by Mimi Sheraton. Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc., New York. All Rights Reserved.