By Amanda Ryan
Stinging nettles are an often forgotten wild edible that like to grow along roadsides and in farmyards. Covered in tiny hairs that cause its infamous “sting”, nettles must be handled with care*. But when they are, these greens can be a culinary delicacy that packs a nutritional punch. Nettles are loaded with the Vitamins A, C, E and B1, B2, B3, and B5, and the minerals calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc. They are also a good source of protein and fiber. The health benefits of nettle’s nutrients boost the immune system, aid in treatment of allergies, skin issues, intestinal disorders, inflammation, high blood pressure and arthritis.
If you can’t find nettles at your local farmers market, you can substitute them with arugula, spinach, or any other leafy green in this recipe.
*When handling nettles it is best to use gloves or tongs.
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
4 cups water or broth
½ tsp salt
5 large handfuls nettles
½ cup heavy cream
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
In a medium-sized sauce pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until browned.
Add the diced potatoes, water and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 7-10 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
Add the nettles and continue simmering for another 5 minutes or until greens are wilted. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth (or transfer to an upright blender).
Stir in heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with crusty bread.