Photo: Kelly Rossiter
I know that stinging nettles grow wild in Ontario and you can forage for them, but I'm not really sure where to find them, unlike in England and Ireland where you can find them in just about every field. I realize that I've never actually seen stinging nettles growing. If you do have a source for nettles, remember to take along a good sturdy pair of gloves, because they really do hurt to touch.I let others do the foraging for me and I buy my stinging nettles from the farmers' market. I find them particularly delicious and you can use them in any recipe that you would use spinach or other green leafy vegetables, just don't eat them raw. Once you have blanched them, they are safe to handle.
This recipe was devised and made by Rebecca Vandevelde and I absolutely loved them. Paired with a salad they make a wonderful lunch or light dinner.
Stinging Nettle and Onion Pastries
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium cooking onions, sliced
2-4 bulbs and stems of green garlic
1 lb stinging nettles
1 tbsp of pickled green peppercorns, plus a splash of the brine
salt and pepper to taste
1 package of filo pastry, defrosted
2 Tbsp melted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
2. Heat oil in a skillet and add onions to saute over med-low heat.
3. Meanwhile, put some rubber gloves on to handle the nettles. Rinse them under water and remove the leaves from the stems. Discard the stems. Blanch the leaves in hot water and set aside. They are now safe to handle.
4. When the onions are cooked through and most of the way carmelized, chop the garlic and toss it in. Cook another few minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Add the nettles and peppercorns, salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
5. Separate 1 sheet of filo for each pastry, keeping the rest covered so as not to dry out.
Fold the sheet in half lengthwise and place 2 Tbsp of filling on the left-hand end. Fold the end of the pastry into a triangle shape, enveloping the filling, and brush the surface with melted butter. Fold over itself again and again until all of the filo is wrapped around the filling and the pastry is in a triangle shape, brushing with butter between each layer. Continue folding filling into filo sheets until you run out of filling. I made six medium-sized pastries; enough to serve with a large salad for dinner.
6. Bake for 10 minutes on each side, or until crisp and golden. Remove and serve at once. (Though they can be chilled and reheated in the oven)