Written By: Leanne Cordingley
Mmmm, just seen this recipe for nettle pesto on Joanna’s Food. It looks amazing! I almost wish I was back at home to try it out.
Nettles are packed full of healthiness, they grow everywhere (you could say like weeds…) and yet I’ve still not managed to get into cooking them myself despite being told years ago how good they are and how easy they are to cook with. This recipe looks really simple, so I’m thinking it must be a good one for anyone looking for an introduction to wild food.
It is the best time for nettles in the UK right NOW. For the best nettles pick the young fresh green tips of the plant. Be careful not to pick from anywhere that is likely to have been sprayed with chemicals and pick as far from paths as possible (to avoid dog pee). I’m slightly gutted I can’t do this myself this year, so can someone please make it for me and let me know how it is?…
Mint (if you’ve got it, or other herbs, or none)
Pick a colander full of young nettle tops (you’ll need gloves). Rinse them, then plunge them into boiling water for one minute to blanch them and take the sting out of them. As soon as the minute’s up, tip them back into the colander (keep the water, it’s full of goodness and can be drunk like a tisane) and run under the cold tap to stop them cooking. When they’re cold, squeeze out the water.
Put a slice of wholemeal bread into the food processor. Add a chunk of cheese, a peeled clove of garlic and the nettles and a little mint. Blitz, then add oil in a stream. I used rapeseed oil. Keep tasting, adjusting the amounts. Hard to say how much oil, as it depends on what you are going to do with the sauce.
Sounds good doesn’t it? There’s so many other things they could be used in too. Generally you cook them in the same way as, and they taste like, spinach. So I’m thinking anything which is good with spinach must be good with nettles – quiche, pasta, omelettes, pies, on pizza, or just cooked simply with garlic. Mmm. You’ve got to give it a go! For more adventurous ‘superfood’ addicts go for a banana and nettle smoothie, the raw hit will give you maximum vitamin goodness.