Food from the Hart

Stinging Nettles

In Product Spotlight on June 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm

There’s something really fun about eating a wild plant that, when uncooked, causes burning poison ivy like pain.  But for you adventurous eaters out there, when cooked properly, this plant is not only nutritious but delicious!  The leaves have a mild flavor that is like spinach – only better!

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These are true delicacies and you will be hard pressed to find them anywhere other than local farmers markets (unless you forage for them yourself, which I don’t recommend). Word to the wise, make sure you always handle raw nettles with gloves.  The tiny stinging hairs will hurt and cause redness. When at the market look nettles that are vibrant green and firm.  Avoid those that look brown, yellow or wilted.

What to do with Nettles

Always handle raw nettles with gloves! Rinse them well and remove the stems.  You can leave the leaves whole, chopped or chiffonade.  If you’re still with me and haven’t been scared off, you can cook these guys as you would any leafy green.  You can blanch, steam, or sauté and add to a variety of meals like pastas, grains, frittatas, risottos or simply as an accompaniment to a hearty protein.

Adding Stinging Nettles to your Next Meal

  • Saute with shallots, butter and some red pepper and serve alongside grilled filet or chicken breast.
  • Add sautéed nettles to risotto with leeks and english peas.
  • Throw into a hearty brunch frittata with bell peppers, onions and mushrooms.
  • Make a pesto with nettles, spinach and ramps.  Try substituting the pine nuts for walnuts.

 

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