Nettles, Nettles Everywhere

Hey all! It’s been a while, but we’re back at it! Matt and I were lucky enough to take a trip to Spain and Amsterdam in late March into mid-April. That meant we started our seedlings a little later, so we’re fortunate the weather has been chilly because we’re not as far behind as we anticipated.

We hope to share some of our travel photos and food fun with you soon. A couple of the meals we had in Amsterdam were in our top 10. I just need to find some time to sit down and put something together.

Until then, how about some talk about nettles? Nettles, also known as “stinging nettles” are kind of like wild spinach. Once cooked, their taste is similar to spinach but a bit more earthy. In the raw, they have little thorns, for lack of a better word, that will sting you if touched. Thus the “stinging” part of their name.

Nettles

But don’t be frightened by their name, these foraged greens are excellent. Especially in early Spring when not much else is available. They add lovely flavor and texture to a stir fry, egg scramble, or quiche. They are wonderful, simply sautéed with a little garlic and topped with Parmesan. And, they also make a pretty fantastic pesto.

Tonight, I made a Nettle and Mushroom Quiche/Pie. The raw cheese mixture itself is worth sitting down and munching with a spoon, like a savory cheesecake filling. Cooked and topped with pine nuts, it takes on a whole new phase. We had this for dinner, but it would also make a great brunch or lunch item and, I think, will be awesome reheated tomorrow.

Quiche

We will have foraged nettles at market Saturday, along with the two recipes. One for the Nettle Mushroom Quiche/Pie and one for Nettle Pesto.

Nettle Mushroom Quiche/Pie

Ingredients:
– 1lb nettles (in bag)
– 1 refrigerated pie crust
– 1lb cottage cheese
– 1/2tsp lemon zest
– 1/4tsp nutmeg
– 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
– 1 egg
– 1/2 pkg plain feta
– 1Tbsp butter
– 1Tbsp olive oil
– 1 cup onion, chopped
– 3 garlic cloves, diced
– 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
– large handful pine nuts

Directions:
– Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Blind bake pie crust for 20 minutes. Then, brush with egg wash and bake another 5-10 minutes, or until the crust starts to look golden. Remove from oven.

– Meanwhile, dump raw nettles directly from bag into sink of cold water. Transfer from sink to boiling water to blanch (10 seconds) and then shock in ice bath. Drain, squeeze out liquid, chop, and set aside.

– In a food processor, combine cottage cheese, lemon zest, nutmeg, Parmesan, egg, feta, a pinch of salt, and good grind of pepper. Pulse until smooth.

– In a medium sauté pan, melt butter with olive oil over medium high heat. Sauté onion for a minute or two and then add garlic and mushrooms.

– Take off heat and stir in nettles. Then stir in cheese mixture. Spoon into pie crust and top with pine nuts. Bake 45 minutes. Let rest 20-30 minutes before serving.

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