Nettle Pesto Recipe & ITB May

Before you read this recipe please note that it is also time for our Seasonal Food Blogging challenge, “In The Bag“. Basically you cook a dish using pre-selected seasonal ingredients, – this time Broccoli and Blue Cheese – blog about it, then send me an email with the link, photograph, and name of the recipe. Please send entries to scott [at] realepicurean [dot] com before 31st May 2009 for inclusion in the roundup. You can read here for a previous edition which outlines the rules in full. Read last months here.

I’ve had my eye on the stinging nettles near where I take the dog for a walk for a while now; nettles are one of natures great freebies and I really needed to grab some before it was too late (fresh young leaves are the best, so March / April are the best times). I’ve tried Nettle Soup before, which is fantastic, but never ventured further than that; now I can happily report that Nettle Pesto is delicious too.

Nettle Pesto

Nettle Pesto

Luckily the weather this weekend has been superb. We ventured off the beaten track a little bit to try and grab nettles that were less likely to have been marinated in dog pee; Gosia (who is now 8 months pregnant) typically took over the majority of the picking duties.

“I used to pick nettles for my Auntie to feed to the ducks”, she said, before giving me a lesson in how to pick them without getting stung. Grabbing them by the stem instead of the leaf seems to be the key – it apparently worked for Gosia but no such luck for me as I stung my hand on the first attempt and then again on the second. In the end I gave up and resorted to the tried and tested rubber glove tactic.

Try the pesto mixed with your favourite pasta, or spooned over a freshly cooked lamb steak. I’m sure you’ll like it!

Once you’ve checked out this recipe perhaps you’d like to check out a couple of articles elsewhere which gave me the inspiration to try it; River Cottage’s “What’s Good Now” for March, Egg But No Bacon’s Nettle Pesto and delicious:day’s Radish Leaf Pesto Recipe.

Nettle Pesto Recipe – Ingredients

  • 1/3 of a Carrier Bag full of Nettle tips.
  • 6 Garden Mint leaves
  • 1 Clove garlic
  • 75g (2.6 oz) Pine Nuts
  • 100g (3.5 oz) Parmesan
  • 75ml (2.5 fl. oz)Extra Virgin Rape Seed Oil (This works really well with the nettles. More about this in a future post!)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Nettle Pesto Recipe – Ingredients

  1. First start out by picking your nettle leaves from the stems – it’s best to use rubber gloves to do this. You’ll then need to rinse the nettles in a colander to remove any dirt, insects etc.
  2. Bring a pan of water to the boil and place your nettles inside for one minute – this will remove the sting. Drain well and squeeze out any excess moisture.
  3. Place all dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse until chopped up. Slowly add the oil whilst blending until the desired consistency is reached (mine needed about 75ml / 2.5 fl. oz).
  4. Taste and season as required. It can be used straight away or stored in sterilised jars for around a month in the fridge.

One last note. I poured away the water which I used to cook the nettles but this bright green liquid would make a fantastic tea or base for a soup.

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