Saturday, March 20, 2010

contraband nettles - yum!

OK, well not really, but tell that to the owner of the adjacent property, who came out to the roadside to see what we were doing, and, upon hearing that we were picking the tips off the month-early nettles by the road, said very firmly "OK. Take them. But then go." I'm pretty sure that, where there is a road allowance (I checked the map; there is definitely a road allowance where we were picking), there is allowance to pick whatever we find. I asked the guy if he would like the nettles, and he looked at me like I was crazy, so I don't think this was an issue of me taking his crop. If it was, I would have relinquished them gladly. Actually, I really wish I had asked for his name, so I could bring him some nettle pesto. Because it's so good!

Here's what we made:

Nettle Pesto:
quickly steam or blanch the nettles, then put about 4-6 cups in a big blender with about 1tbsp olive oil, 1tbsp lemon juice, 1 or 2 tsp salt (to taste), about 4 or 5 peeled garlic cloves, and a small handful of cashews. Blend! Yum! I froze some, as suggested by Landon Cook, at Fat of the Land. But with the rest...

Instead of what I usually do, with chopped nettles, lots of tomatoes, feta & cottage cheese... I used the pesto. We took it to our Nature Club potluck and lots of people seemed to love it. Here you go:

Mix & match the following to your heart's content:
  • 3 layers cooked rice-pasta lasagna noodles
  • 2 layers ricotta cheese
  • 2 layers grated parmesan cheese & raw sesame seeds (just sprinkled in the middle and on top)
  • 1 layer chopped zuchini and tomatoes (to add more bulk and tanginess)
  • 2 layers chopped steamed nettles
  • 3 layers nettle pesto - one on top, under the parmesan/sesame seeds!
Bake at 375F for about 40 minutes.

    Also on the side of the road we got some lovely chickweed & miner's lettuce, which will be lunch, tomorrow.