Our Noble Interest of this week has been in the cook's pot far longer than the cook has been in the kitchen.
This recipe is one of the earliest recipes humankind was using. I've copied this recipe directly to here only because it was so far down on its page. This is a lovely site! Please do go have a look at it.
From about 6,000BC. Start by picking the nettles, carefully, using only the small, young ones, as they grow more bitter with age. Wash the nettles one by one, to remove soil and insects (note: Acetylcholine and histamine are the primary nettle toxins; the latter causes dermal vesiculation. Formic acid was formerly thought to cause the persistent stinging action but it is now only associated with the initial pain at contact).
Cooking Time: 10-15 mins
- 1 bunch of sorrel
- 1 bunch of watercress
- 1 bunch of dandelion leaves
- 2 bunches of young nettle leaves
- Some chives
- 1 cup of barley flour
- 1 tsp salt
- Chop the herbs finely and mix in the barley flour and salt
- Add enough water to bind it together and place in the centre of a linen or muslin cloth
- Tie the cloth securely and add to a pot of simmering venison or wild boar
- Leave in the pot until the meat is cooked
- Serve with chunks of barley bread
- ½ a basket of nettles (approx 250g)
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 50g butter
- 2-3 handfuls of oatmeal
- 1 tsp salt
Possibly descended from an ancient Roman sauce called “moretum”, Nettle pesto is equally at home in modern kitchens. Sautèed nettles is another dish that is simple and flavorful. The sautè is flexible enough to allow for experimentation. Use this tasty version as a start and then be bold! Both recipes can be frozen for later use.
While there is discussion on the matter, rice seems to have been introduced into Italy by the Arabs during the Middle Ages. Risotto was a happy result of this. Try a twist on the usual recipes and make a Nettle risotto.
There are enough recipes out there to keep nettles on the table and the diners appreciative for at least a couple of days. Did I forget anything? Maybe appetizers. If you come across a recipe for a good one, please share with me in the comments below. I always enjoy trying a new one. Thanks for stopping by.
Tomorrow's Knowings of the Leech will try to cover all of the medicinal benefits that this plant is known for.