Nour­ish your wild side

Sting­ing net­tle has an earthy, spinach-like taste

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - ERIC AKIS NET­TLES ARE RICH IN NU­TRI­ENTS THE PLANT HAS MINUTE HAIRS IF YOU USE SCIS­SORS HEAT­ING, DRY­ING OR FREEZ­ING

When I in­formed an edi­tor I was writ­ing about sting­ing net­tles, he said: “Do I want to eat some­thing called sting­ing net­tles?” My quick re­sponse was: Yes! Sting­ing net­tles have an earthy, slightly bit­ter, spinach-like taste with hints of cu­cum­ber and black pep­per.

“Net­tles are ed­i­ble all spring and sum­mer, un­til they flower, but are at their best when young and ten­der,” says Ali­son Col­well of the Galiano Club Food Pro­gram in B.C.

There is a catch, though; You have to har­vest sting­ing net­tles yourself (see side­bar for tips). Look for them along road­sides, trail edges, dis­turbed ground, for­est clear­ings, streams and pond edges.

“Most recipes will call for the amount of fresh net­tles, so it’s easy to tell how much you need. And once you’ve found a good patch, it’s easy (and fast) to fill your bas­ket,” Col­well said.

Ali­son Col­well’s Nesto

Use this invit­ing nesto as you would basil-flavoured pesto. Prep. time: 10 min­utes Cook­ing time: About 4 min­utes Makes: About 3 cups (750 mL) 3 cups (750 mL) sting­ing net­tle leaves (no stems)

6 peeled gar­lic cloves

1/2 cup (125 mL) wal­nut halves

Salt and pep­per, to taste Splash of lemon juice, or to taste 3/4 to 1 cup (180 to 250 mL) olive oil 1 cup (250 mL) freshly grated Parme­san cheese

Steam the net­tles un­til just soft­ened, about four min­utes; cool to room tem­per­a­ture.

Place gar­lic, wal­nuts, salt, pep­per and lemon juice in a food pro­ces­sor and pulse un­til well-blended. Add the net­tles and blend. While the blade is turn­ing, slowly add up to 1 cup (250 mL) olive oil. Mix in the Parme­san cheese and the nesto is ready.

Sting­ing Net­tle

Hum­mus

Chick­peas are a ver­sa­tile plat­form for the flavour of many wild foods. Greens, mush­rooms and sea­weed all work well in this mix­ture.

Serves: 6-8

4 cups (1 L) sting­ing net­tle tips

2 cups (500 mL) cooked chick-

peas 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh gar­lic Zest and juice of 1 lemon 1/4 cup (60 mL) ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil

1 tsp (5 mL) hot sauce

Salt and pep­per, to taste

Soak net­tles in plenty of cold wa­ter. Rinse and drain them. Bring a large pot of salted wa­ter to boil over high heat. Add the net­tles and cook for 30 sec­onds or un­til the net­tles are limp and dark green. Re­move with a slot­ted spoon or tongs and trans­fer to a large bowl of cold wa­ter. When cool, drain the net­tles and squeeze out all mois­ture. You will end up with a small ball of net­tles. Coarsely chop the net­tles.

In a food pro­ces­sor, purée the net­tles and chick­peas un­til a coarse mix­ture forms. Add the gar­lic, lemon zest and lemon juice. Con­tinue to purée the mix­ture, adding the olive oil in a slow stream un­til the mix­ture is very smooth.

Add the hot sauce and sea­son well with salt and pep­per. Pulse to mix, then trans­fer to a serv­ing dish, driz­zle with a lit­tle more olive oil, and serve with rus­tic bread or pita bread.

Sting­ing Net­tle Gomae

This recipe comes from The Deer­holme For­ag­ing Book (Touch- Wood Edi­tions) by Chef Bill Jones. Gomae trans­lates to “se­same” in Ja­panese and is usu­ally a dish made with spinach.

Serves: 4-6

8 cups (2 L) sting­ing net­tle tops

2 tbsp (30 mL) soy sauce

1 tbsp (15 mL) grape­seed oil

1 tsp (5 mL) se­same oil 1 tbsp (15 mL) mirin 1 tbsp (15 mL) white se­same seeds

Soak net­tles in plenty of cold wa­ter. Rinse and drain. Bring a large pot of salted wa­ter to boil. Add net­tles and cook for 30 sec­onds, or un­til the net­tles are limp and dark green. Re­move with a slot­ted spoon or tongs and trans­fer to a large bowl of cold wa­ter to shock (chill) the net­tles, which stops the cook­ing process.

Drain net­tles and squeeze out all mois­ture. You will end up with a soft­ball-sized lump of net­tles. Coarsely chop the net­tles.

In a mix­ing bowl, add soy sauce, grape­seed oil, se­same oil and mirin. Whisk un­til uni­form, then add net­tles and se­same seeds, and toss well to mix. Let sit for 5 min­utes. Serve at room tem­per­a­ture.

This mix­ture will keep for sev­eral days in the re­frig­er­a­tor.

IS THE AU­THOR OF THE BOOK

is a Eurasian net­tle that has nat­u­ral­ized in North Amer­ica.

such as vi­ta­mins A, C and D, iron and cal­cium.

that can in­ject ir­ri­tants into your skin. Be­fore head­ing out to har­vest it, Ali­son Col­well of the Galiano Club Food Pro­gram in B.C. ad­vises equip­ping yourself with gar­den gloves, scis­sors or gar­den snip­pers and a bas­ket.

— in­stead of tear­ing — to cut the top six leaves (the best bit) off the plant, the roots re­main undis­turbed and the plant will con­tinue to grow.

the leaves will get rid of the st­ing.

Vic­to­ria Times Colonist

Sting­ing net­tles hum­mus, a dish where wild food flavours a ver­sa­tile chick­pea plat­form.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.