Stinging nettles are my favorite wild food.
Easier to find than mushrooms, we pick several pounds every spring, blanch them to neutralize the sting, and freeze portions to use throughout the year. Most of the time I make fritters, but nettles work in any recipe where you might use spinach, and they’ll taste much better.
The first tender leaves of stinging nettles (Urtica dioica)...
mark the beginning of Spring here in the Pacific Northwest. Abundant and easy to harvest, they’ve got a hearty, umami-filled flavor that puts spinach to shame.
What You'll Need
For the shopping list
- 1 cup, blanched and drained stinging nettles (leaves and small stems) - about 1lb pre-blanched
- Zest and juice from 1 lemon*
- *If available, substitute 1 tablespoon preserved lemon paste
1 cup, with some of the oil from the jar Grilled Artichoke Hearts
$18.00– Puglia - Italy
From the kitchen
- 1 Saucepan
- 1 Colander
- Food Processor
- 1 Cast Iron Skillet or Baking Dish
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
What you'll have to do
If using freshly foraged nettles, use tongs to drop them in boiling water. Cook for about a minute, then use the tongs to hold the cooked nettles over the pot to drain. Drain in a colander set over a bowl to catch the liquid, let cool, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible (save the cooking liquid, substitute for vegetable or chicken broth if the dark color is ok).
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine nettles, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 cup artichokes, 1 cup farmers cheese, juice and zest from 1 lemon, 1/2 cup olive oil, and 1 teaspoon salt in processor, blitz until finely chopped and well mixed.
Transfer to a skillet or baking dish, top with the Parmigiano, and bake until the top is browned, about 25 minutes. Serve hot with crostini and vegetables.
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