I've got a cold this week, so need something to build me up. Nettles (urtica dioica) fit the bill perfectly, as they are full of iron, and, I think, vitamin C. As so-called hedgerow food, they have the added advantage of giving you something for nothing. But in this garden they grow in huge profusion, great clumps of them. They're only just beginning to show now, which is perfect, because you need young shoots if you're going to eat them (they get very stringy indeed, and mature plants can be made into clothes, just like hemp).
It's hard to believe that this clump of three-inch high nettles will be four feet tall by midsummer.
Even nettles this small carry quite a sting, so you need to wear gloves: finding them is probably the most difficult bit of making this soup.
Quick nettle soup
For two, you'll need half a colander full, one potato, one onion, some stock or water, and nutmeg.
Chop the onion, and sweat in a little oil. When they're soft but not golden, add potato chunks, stir round for a few moments, then add the nettles. The leaves will fill your pan pretty full, but, like spinach, they wilt right down, so when you add liquid, don't put in too much, there's no need to cover the leaves. Bring to the boil, put on the lid, and simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes. Liquidize, & season with lots of nutmeg. Reheat, and serve with a swirl of fromage frais.
This is my entry for weekend herb blogging, hosted this week by Becky at Key Lime and Coconut
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