No one in their right mind would think to cultivate nettles. They are wild creatures, & they let us know it. Treat them with care & respect, however & they reward annually with a springtime bounty of foraged wild deliciousness. This meal uses nettles in a simple cheese & pastured free range egg frittata & pairs it with biscuits & California Chardonnay to turn it into a sumptuous weekend feast.
Collect your nettles with rubber or leather gloves, kitchen shears, & a bowl large enough to hold a few dozen nettle leaves. You can use kitchen tongs to immerse the leaves and stems in boiling water before letting them rest in a strainer, where you can squeeze out excess moisture. The stinging feature has been deactivated by the blanching, and the aromas of the cooked nettles are lovely.
Remove the thick stems from the leaves and dice the leaves finely using a cutting board and good knife.
For two to four servings, use 6 to 8 eggs and a few ounces of grated cheddar cheese. You can prepare the biscuits ahead of time, using an online recipe from King Arthur flour or similar web site.
Whisk the eggs, blend in the diced nettles, stir in the grated cheese, & add them to a preheated, well oiled cast iron cooking dish.
Cook at 350 to 375F for 25 to 30 minutes and let cool briefly before serving. We paired our dish with arugula & a 2016 Chalone Vineyard Chardonnay.
Don’t fear the nettle! With practice & patience, it can be your friend. It may take a few tries to succeed to your satisfaction level, but keep at it! It is easier than it looks.
A healthy, green, & wild foraged masterpiece. Simplicity can indeed be a lot of fun. Try a variation of your own! You may become a believer.