|Just one of the many beautiful nettle patches|
Discovering the delectable joys of the stinging nettle has been a highlight of our foraging and weed-eating adventures. In the spirit of seasonal eating, however, we haven't had any for a while, so when I saw those sweet sweet bright green nettle plants yesterday, I knew that nettle soup and/or risotto and/or pasta would be on our home menu sooner rather than later. Tonight, in fact!
Collecting nettles is fun, in that forage-y kind of way (goes something like this: Free food! Wandering around some place you don't normally go unless you're looking for free food! Anticipating the deliciousness you're soon going to be enjoying!). A bonus on this particular forage were these enormous mushrooms that were also enjoying the neighbour's cow pasture.
My complete lack of mushroom-identification skills and a pretty strong desire to not poison my entire family made me leave the mushrooms alone, however. I was content to just give them a sniff (mmm... mushroom-smell...) and have a little daydream about some day in the future when I am a super-competent mushroom-identifying guru. Also, I had a big bowl of nettles to enjoy! One culinary pleasure at a time eh?
|The gloves don't come off til the nettles are cooked|
The good thing about nettles is that they're so delicious you don't really need to do much to them to enjoy. Here's my method to turn a big bowl full of nettles into dinner for the family and a jar of pesto to give to a friend:
1. Give your nettle leaves a bit of a wash. Ours came from a cow paddock, so I wanted to get rid of any cow poo and wee hanging around on the leaves.
2. Boil them for a few minutes to get rid of the sting-factor. It's not super delicious...
3. Toast some nuts. I used almonds and macadamias and a few pine nuts.
4. Whiz up the nettles, the nuts, about 5 cloves of garlic, some olive oil and some parmesan in a food processor.
5. Stir the nettle pesto into cooked pasta with some halved cherry tomatoes (I know - we're lucky) and some torn basil leaves (yep - really lucky) and feel your heart swell with joy as you watch your family devouring the bowls of super-nutrition you have prepared.
|Even the kids love it|