Of all the wild herbs, nettle has to be my favorite of them all. It is something very familiar to me, that I’ve eaten since childhood. In our garden we left on purpose a little corner of it grow wild, so that we could forage nettle from there. Granny then would use them in her cooking, mainly in minestrones. I loved the hearty flavor of those minestrones, they were so delicious that I could enjoy them even in warm summer evenings.
Nettle is such a versatile herb. Think of how many recipes you could make with spinach. Now substitute nettle to them all. Soups, pies, salty pancakes, dips, salads.. The only step you have to remember to take is boil them first to neutralize the stinginess.
The best tasting are nettles the first ones that come out in spring time, when they are less than 20 cm high. These baby nettles almost don’t sting, but I’d advise to use gardening gloves anyway. The smaller the nettle, the less woody the stalk is.
My new favorite way to use nettle is a very easy and fast nettle pesto, which can be used on its own as a condiment for pastas or can be added to couscous or salty pie recipes for example.
- 20 g nettle
- 60 g walnuts
- 25 g parmesan cheese
- 45 ml (3 tbsolive oil
- Salt to taste
- Boil the nettle in abundant water for just a couple of minutes. It is important not to over boil the nettle, so that it won’t lose that bright green color and all its properties.
- Sieve the nettle, rinse it with abundant cold water, drain off the excess of water.
- Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until the desired texture (some like it smooth, some like it a little grainy).
- Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week. Alternatively you can freeze the nettle pesto and thaw it overnight in a refrigerator.