I finally found a nettle soup recipe that I really like. This needs to be made in early spring, when the nettles are small and soft. Pick the nettle tops wearing washing up gloves and push them into a measuring jug until you have around 400ml.
- 400ml nettle tops
- 40g plain flour
- 80g blue cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp butter
- Wash and chop the nettle tops finely
- In a large pan, bring 1 litre of water to the boil, and add the nettle tops and flour. Cook and whisk together for around 10 minutes. I like to use my soup blender.
- Add blue cheese and simmer until it has melted into the soup, and then season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg, add a couple of spoonfuls of the soup and mix together well. Pour the egg mixture back into the soup gradually, stirring as you go.
- In a small pan, melt the butter gently and cook until the milk solids in the butter start to turn brown.
- Serve the soup with the butter drizzled over the top.
A recipe from the spring.
I know that nettles are supposed to be tasty and nutritious and free, but I’ve always struggled with the recipes that I’ve tried, usually ending up with something that looks wrong. But the scent of blanched nettles suggests an affinity with gooseberries, elderflowers, mackerel, and a wonderful hint of spring. I was out foraging for seaweed on the day I made this. At the end of the walk, I scrambled up a bank of dried kelp and pebbles, then silverweed, and then a great abundance of freshly sprouting spring nettles.
When I got home, I blanched my pickings of nettle tops, and found I had 75g, enough to make myself a tasty wee risotto for one. You could easily multiply up for more.
- 1/4 mild onion, finely chopped
- 1 lovage sprig, finely chopped (leaves not the stem)
- 25g butter
- 75-100g blanched nettle tops, finely chopped
- 100g arborio rice
- 1 glass white wine
- 300ml hot vegetable stock (I used marigold bouillon)
- 1 oz parmesan, grated
- Salt and pepper
- Fry the onion in the butter until it is soft and nearly browning.
- Add the chopped nettles and chopped lovage, and stir in, frying, for a minute.
- Add the rice, keep stirring and frying, until the rice looks glazed and shiny.
- Pour in a glass of wine, and bring to the boil.
- Slowly add the stock, bringing to the boil and waiting until the stock is absorbed before adding more.
- Once the rice is tender, but still a little firm, add the salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Stir in, cover, and leave to stand for 3 minutes before serving.
Could you serve fish with this? Not sure. It was very good on its own.