As with most things in nature that which is desirable has some fearsome protective mechanism keeping hoarders at bay. I am sure most people have felt the annoying pain that is assosiated with nettles, usually as a child in summer unwittingly running around the wilds with bare legs.
I remember a story my father told me while he was working in a field as a a boy. After being caught short and having to relieve himself in the field he reached for a large leaf to wipe his backside but unknowingly picked up a nettle also. Wiping your backside with a nettle and my fathers description of the pain seeded a deep fear of this unremarkably looking plant into my heart which still plays on my mind.
So when it was apparent that I would have to confront this phobia in order to make nettle soup I done what a man needed to do......and got his daughter and nephews to pick the nettles for him!
Unfortunately the protective bags for picking were not as protective as I thought!
Nettle soup recipe:
What you need:
- Nettle tops (enough to fill a pint glass or two)
- Butter (1 oz)
- Oatmeal (1 oz.)
- water or stock (vegetable 1 pint)
- salt and pepper
What you do:
- Wash nettles in several changes of cold water
- Chop finely of mince (as i did in masticating juicer....be careful with pronouncing that particular word!)
- Melt butter in pot and fry oatmeal until golden brown
- Stir in water or stock and bring to boil while stirring
- Add nettles, salt and pepper and bring to boil again
- Lower heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes
I was not overly impressed by this considering the ordeal required to get the ingredients. Perhaps milk would have been a better substitute for stock/water. I added a little cream to top of nettle soup which made it more pleasant (incidentally making an image of a 6 legged goat, something with horns to represent the danger)
I can understand that in times gone by in Ireland, food was scarce and nettles abundant so nettle soup was a bound to be popular but it is not my cup of tea (I like nettle tea though....). It is also extremely nutritious and would give you a real health boost if you made a regular thing of it. I was told that there is a similar dish in Portugal but am unaware if it is from nettles or another weed.