I am about as knowledgeable when it comes to gardening as I am when it comes to cooking. I built myself a lovely veggie garden, threw some seeds at it, and sat back as it grew lush and bountiful.
Not with veggies though…with nettles.
Did you know that nettles are edible? Although I can no longer find the website, I even saw a theory posted that if nettles had not evolved their sting, they’d be eaten to extinction due to their high nutritious value!
My knowledge of evolution may also be on par with my knowledge of cooking, but what I can tell you is that nettles are nutritious. They are high in Vitamins A and K, as well as iron and calcium.
With that in mind, I decided I might as well make nettle-ade.
Firstly, I had to make the nettles safe to handle. This is simple: bring a pot of water to the boil, add a tablespoon of salt, then add the nettles. After 30 seconds remove the leaves from the pot and dunk them into cold water. You can now handle them with your bare hands like a badass. Now on to the cooking, firstly, Nettle Soup.
Source: Fat of the Land blog
4 tbsp Butter
1 Medium yellow onion, diced
2 Cloves garlic, crushed
3 Medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups Stock (see my vegetable stock recipe to make this meal a true waste-not-want-not bounty)
2 cups Water
1 large bunch Stinging nettles
nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste
1. Saute the onions in butter until almost caramelised.
2. Add the garlic and potatoes and cook over medium heat for several minutes. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
3. Add stock and water and simmer until potatoes are tender. Add nettles, stir and cover. Boil 10 minutes.
4. Puree in blender then return to pot. Serve hot.
Next on the menu is Nettle Pasta. You will need a pasta maker and a blender or food processor for this recipe.
2 tbsp Nettle leaves
2 tbsp water
200g Flour, plus more if required
1/2 tsp Salt
10ml Olive oil
2 Whole Eggs
1 Egg yolk
1. Mix the nettle leaves and water in a blender and puree until fine.
2. Sift the flour and salt onto a clean work surface.
3. Make a well in the centre and add oil, beaten eggs, and pureed nettle mixture.
4. Mix to form a smooth green dough. You may need to add more flour if the dough is still sticky.
5. Process in pasta machine.
I served mine with a simple sauce of sage, olive oil, parmesan, green beans, zucchini and lemon juice.