This wild edible is full of vitamins and minerals and is found almost everywhere. However, most of us only associate it with the quick sting we get upon encountering it. This is also a crucial herb for us in our biodynamic practices. One of our favorite fertilizers is a tea made from stinging nettle and comfrey leaves. When we were planning our first season here, we bought stinging nettle leaves to plant. Little did we know, we have a thriving nettle patch on our hill.
These leaves are reminiscent of spinach with an earthy minerality that I just love. Dried and used in tea the flavor becomes almost toasted. Fresh, they can be used as a substitute for spinach or other greens. My favorite way to eat them so far is in chimichurri, frittatas, Indian Saag, and as a topping on a pizza. Be sure to blanch or saute them before eating though, this ensures the “stinging” part will no longer sting. This time of year, before our more domesticated leaves are ready to enjoy, we fill up on these protein and iron rich native greens.
Chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce for grilled meat. We paired ours with a grilled pork chop and a side of quinoa with grilled asparagus.
Two big handfuls of stinging nettle leaves
Wild garlic leaves
Wild onion leaves (wild chives)
Red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Boil water and quickly add the nettles to it just for a few seconds, then remove and strain. Squeeze out as much water as you can and add the nettles and olive oil to the food processor. Process until lightly smooth. Then add the garlic leaves, onion leaves, vinegar, and salt and pepper. If you like spice, add a pinch of crushed red pepper. Make seasoning adjustments to your taste.
Wine Pairing Suggestion:
This sauce on grilled meat goes very well with a light red wine like a Pinot Noir. My current favorite is the 2019 Scout and Cellar Etnico Pinot Noir. The grapes for this wine were grown biodynamically. A perfect pairing for a meal with nettles, as they are one of the most important herbs for biodynamic farming.
Stinging Nettle, Wild Allium, and Goat Cheese Frittata
One heaping handful stinging nettle
Three wild spring onions (or store bought)
Three wild spring garlic (or garlic clove)
A handful of goat chevre
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk all eggs well and set aside. In a cast iron skillet, heat olive oil or butter to medium heat. Add nettles, wild onions, and wild garlic. Saute until fragrant and cooked down. Pour over the eggs and turn off the burner. Let it set momentarily while you arrang
e the vegetables evenly and spread the goat cheese over the eggs. Add to the oven and cook for about 20 minutes or until the egg has cooked through. To test, gently shake the pan to ensure it’s not jiggling. Wait about 5 minutes for it to cool and enjoy!
Wine Pairing Suggestion: We actually drank coffee with this breakfast but this frittata would be perfect for a Sunday brunch! It’s begging to be enjoyed with a bubbly rose. I really love the Scout and Cellar canned bubbly wines. A whole bottle of champagne is a big commitment for farmers with a 3 year old. We love these little bottles so we can have single serve mimosas on the weekend.