Stinging nettles are the great wild gift of late spring and bursting with nutrients. I start to look for new growth and pick the first tender leaves around April and May, before the flowers appear. When cooking with nettles, you only want to use the crown of the plant or the first few inches down from the top. Like tough herbs, the stalks can be stringy and tough, so strip the leaves from the stalks before cooking. And don’t forget to wear gloves!
- 1 leek
- 2 carrots
- 2 sticks celery
- 40g butter
- a large basket of nettles (tops only)
- a pinch of nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 1.5lt good chicken stock
- crème fraiche to serve
- chop 1 leek, 2 carrots and 2 sticks celery and soften in 40g butter
- add the nettle leaves, a pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper
- stir so the leaves begin to wilt in the butter
- pour in 1.5lt stock
- cook for 20mins then liquefy
- serve with more nutmeg and a dollop of crème fraiche.