Nettles? What can I say? I will say that for almost all my life I have believed that this plant was meant only to harm picnics or walks, ready to "attack" you when you were distracted. My mistake... Nettles are one of the most delicious and nutritious of wild herbs, rich in Vitamin C, Iron, Malic Acid, Flavanoids...
I was quite surprised when I heard that nettles was the main ingredient of a very traditional swedish soup. I also learnt that was a great ingredient for cooking and, last year I had the chance to taste several ways of preparing it at Tempo, one of my favourite restaurants in Malmö.
Well...here in England Spring has finally come and nettles too. They are everywhere. Now, when they are small, is the best time to gather them. The only thing you don't must forget is to bring your gloves! At home, using also gloves, you have to cut the leaves and wash gently. Then drop into a pan of boiling water. As soon as they hit the hot water the sting disappears.
Once done this, you can use them like you use spinach (side dish, soups, pasta, omelettes..). They are very tasty, green and fresh. Here is a simple recipe of a soup:
A bunch of boiled nettles - approx. two litres of leaves
0,5 litres of stock (vegetable or chicken)
cream/ cream fraiche
Salt and pepper
Bring the stock to boil and add the nettles. Let boil for a 5 minutes. Then put the soup in a food procesor until completely smooth. Season and add cream or creme fraiche, as you like.