It was a week ago Sunday, and the Lancaster Sunday News ran an article about how to gather, clean, and prepare nettles. I was so thrilled! This veggie is incredibly nutritious, fairly easily found in this part of the country - and most of all, the recipes are becoming mainstream. Every forager is at some point amazed that people lost in the wilderness find nothing to eat, while sitting on a mound of chickweed or lamb's quarters, burdock or sweet violet. So it is with great pleasure that I've shared these recipes with some of the foraging groups, and now with you!
Nettle Tapenade Crostini with Anchovies
This was adapted from David LeFevre, executive chef at Water Grill restaurant in Los Angeles:
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 slices crusty French bread, sliced on the bias
In a small pan over low heat, cook the garlic in the olive oil until soft but not browned. 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and brush the slices of bread with the mixture.
Grill the bread (you can use a stove top grill) over medium heat until golden brown and crunchy. Reserve.
Tapenade and assembly:
2 Tbsp minced onion
5 cloves garlic minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 c stinging nettle leaves, washed
3/8 c chicken stock
1/3 c kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 c chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1/4 c chopped fresh oregano
20 marinated white anchovy fillets
In a large saute pan over medium heat, cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil until they begin to sweat. 1 to 2 minutes. Add the nettles and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and braise until the greens are soft and the liquid is evaporated. Remove from the heat and cool. On a cutting board, mince the nettle mixture and put it into a mixing bowl. Add the olives, sun-dried tomatoes and herbs.
Place about 2 Tbsp tapenade onto each crostino, then top with 2 anchovy fillets. Serve immediately.
Servings: makes 10 crostini.
Each crostino = 117 calories; 5 grams protein; 11 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 6 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 7 milligrams cholesterol; 502 milligrams sodium.
and another from the local paper:
Nettle Frittata with Green Garlic and Ricotta
adapted from "Local Flavors" by Deborah Madison
3 c washed nettle leaves
2 T olive oil
1 head green garlic, minced (or substitute 2 garlic cloves)
1 c finely chopped onion
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
8 large eggs
1/3 c pecorino Romano, grated
1/2 c ricotta
1 T unsalted butter
Heat the broiler, Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the nettles and, using tongs or rubber gloves, put them into the water and blanch them for about 1 minute. Drain and when cool enough to handle, press out the water, chop into a rough cut and reserve.
Warm the olive oil in 10-inch skillet. Add the garlic and onion and cook over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the nettles and season with salt and pepper.
Beat the eggs with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then stir the nettle and onion mixture into the bowl and add the pecorino. Add the ricotta, leaving it a little streaky.
Wipe out the skillet and return it to the heat with the butter. When the butter has foamed and then subsided, pour in the egg mixture. Stir until the ingredients are emulsified. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook until the eggs have set up around the edges and are golden on the bottom, about 6-7 minutes. The center will still be slightly jiggly.
Slide the pan under the broiler and cook until the top is set and golden, about 1 minute. Check to see that the eggs are cooked (the frittata should be set in the center); cool slightly or to room temperature before serving.
Each serving: 233 calories; 14 grams protein; 5 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 18 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 304 milligrams cholesterol; 430 milligrams sodium.