Photo: Kelly Rossiter
When I visited my friend Barbara in Ireland last year I mentioned something about buying stinging nettles at the farmers' market. Now, Barbara doesn't cook at all, I mean, not even boiling water and she had the temerity to laugh at me because stinging nettles are weeds in Ireland and people just go outside and pull them up and toss them in a pot. The thought of paying for them, especially at farmers' market prices was ridiculous to her. So I boldly said I would make a dinner for Barbara and her partner Mark, out of local nettles.
I was looking forward to picking them, but while Barbara and I were doing some sightseeing in an ancient castle, Mark went out to pick the nettles to save us the bother. Many welts to his hands later, he said brushed it off with a "No, I'm grand" which you can only say if you are Irish. Every time I see nettles at the farmers' market, I think about the risotto that I made for that dinner, and the three of us sitting around the table drinking wine and having a wonderful time eating stinging nettles.
I had a farmers' market breakfast with the eggs, nettles and cheese all from there. The cheese I used was quite pungent, and made a nice counterpoint to the nettles. Be sure to use gloves when you clean the nettles to avoid the stings.
Scrambled Eggs with Stinging Nettles and Sheep's Milk Cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small bunch stinging nettles, washed and roughly chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
2 slices toast
slices of sheep's milk cheese
1. In a small sautee pan heat the olive oil. Add the nettles and sautee until they are wilted and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the eggs, salt and pepper to the pan and let sit a few minutes before stirring. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until eggs have reached the desired consistency.
3. Serve on toast, with cheese on top.