Tuesday, April 3, 2012
2 Recipes for Nettles
This comes from an email I got today from the Victoria Downtown Public Market Society. It is inspiring me to find some nettles this weekend, either wild or from the market tomorrow.
Stinging nettles are in season right now and a chefs favorite in the kitchen! These plants are best harvested on Vancouver Island in March and early April before they begin to flower.
There are many benefits of eating nettles. According to Small Foot Print Family, people have been using nettles for food, medicine, fiber, and dyes since the Bronze Age. Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) has a flavor similar to spinach, and is rich in vitamins A, C, D, K, and many minerals including iron, potassium, manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, silica, iodine, silicon, sodium, and sulfur. They are ten percent protein—more than any other vegetable. Eating nettles or drinking nettle tea makes your hair brighter, thicker and shinier, and makes your skin clearer and healthier—they are good for eczema and other skin conditions.
Thanks to chefs and market shoppers who are more adventurous, foragers have a strong market for these obscure plants. Eric Whitehead owner of Untamed Feast will be at our first Summer Victoria Downtown Farmers Market in Market Square Wednesday April 4th from 12-5. Whitehead will be selling bags of fresh foraged nettles to the public, and a few chefs from around Victoria will be picking up their first of the season orders. “The fresh season is short, so the nettles will be harvested the same day as the market” Whitehead states. “There are many ways you can use nettles. I like to harvest nettles in large quantities so I can blanch and freeze them for later use in smoothies, pesto, hummus, or put them in soups and other dishes”. Whitehead also dries nettles for tea and uses dried nettle as an ingredient in some of his wild mushroom products.
Make sure to stop by our first summer market in Market Square and stock up on these deliciously good for you greens!
For tips on how to harvest, identify and cook nettles click on this youtube video.
1/2 pound linguine, cooked during nettle prep
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 bunch green garlic, or 4 cloves garlic
1 shallot or small onion
Salt and Pepper
3/4 pound of fresh Nettles
fresh Parmesan or Pecorino cheese to grate
Nettle Preparation: Soak in cold water for at least 5 minutes while you put together the other ingredients. Completely submerge the nettles in cold water. Take care not to touch them yet. With a glove, remove the leaves from the largest stems. Some folks eat the stems too; it’s up to you. Cook shallot and garlic in the oil and butter over medium heat. Spin dry nettles in a salad spinner. Toss the dried-off nettles into the garlic/oil pan when the shallot is softening and toss with tongs until the nettles are wilted. At 1/4 cup or so water, turn to low heat, then cover, simmer until soft. Add cooked noodles, season to taste, and serve with grated cheese.
1/4 pound Cleaned Nettle Tops
4 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove, Chopped
6 lg Organic Eggs
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Preheat oven to 300º Cook 1/3rd of the nettles in one tablespoon of the olive oil in a non-stick pan. Cook until tender adding a small amount of water if needed. Repeat this 2 more times adding the garlic on the third batch. Place all of the cooked nettles on a cutting board and chop finely. Place the nettles in a bowl of a food processor with the eggs, salt, pepper and process until the nettles are incorporated into the eggs. Add the cream and process for 10 seconds. Heat the non-stick pan on medium with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the nettle mixture and with a rubber spatula move the eggs around to get the entire mixture warm. Place into the oven and cook for about 12 minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes then turn the frittata out onto a plate and cut.