Sunday, May 9, 2010

stinging nettles

today the foodie hunter was a hermit.

all i wanted to do this afternoon was cook and reflect on the last couple of weeks in my new home. one of the things i picked up at the farmers' market yesterday was stinging nettles from knoll farm. it was one of those impulsive purchases as i have never made anything with stinging nettles before....although i have tasted nettles with gnocchi at corso as well as nettles on pizza at gather. yet, once i got the nettles home i quickly realized why they are called "stinging"....because they do...and it is rather unpleasant.



so today, i knew to handle them with tongs.


lesson learned.

yet, thankfully, according to the interwebs, the sting is lessened considerably once they have been cooked. so i decided to blanch them as a way to test it out. i figured that over the next couple of days i could make a nettle soup as well as make some pasta with nettles.

sure enough, once they nettles have been cooked, the sting was lessened considerably. these were blanched for about a minute and there was a wee bit of numbness on my fingertips that went away after a couple of minutes....but there wasn't any pain. this was a marked improvement.



so i decided that my first nettle venture would be a soup....because i just felt like it....and as we all know dear hearts....i am huge fan of soup....and soup is something i like to make when i am processing.. so i prepped some green garlic and yellow onion......




then added both along with some salt to some extra virgin olive oil and butter in a large pan.....


and let that cook while i quickly prepped some potatoes ....


which i added to the now slightly browned green garlic and onions....


and then added a bit more salt again as well as some water. then i added about 3/4 of my chopped nettles. the rest would be added at the end.


while that was simmering away, i made myself a snack of dirty girl strawberries and creme fraiche.


it is a good day when i can make strawberries and creme fraiche as a snack. again, snacking while cooking is a cook's prerogative.

i stirred the soup occasionally while it was simmering but was basically waiting for the potatoes to go all soft and the liquid was reduced by at least 25% (and did add a bit more salt at this point btw).


then it was ready to be blended. i did toy with leaving it more rustic style....thinking about blending a couple of cups then adding it back to the pan...but i decided at the last minute to just blend it all with hand blender....




then returned it to the stove on low heat and added the remaining 1/4 of the nettles......

and then added some cream.


then plated some of the soup.......

and decided to add some raw milk parmesan....

hmmmm. yum yum. this is definitely a hearty stick-to-your-ribs sort of soup. i must also admit that i liked the idea of how the leftovers will make a good appetizer, side dish, or lunch throughout the week. what can i say? the foodie hunter has a severe practical streak. i doubt this will change much. sigh.

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