Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stinging Nettle & Sorrel Soup


This plant is a very interesting plant. When you look at it, it looks like an ordinaryweed with attractive tiny flowers. It can be a very dangerous plant because when you touch it with your bare skin, you will get a terrible sting, which is very painful. The sting feels very much like a bee sting and can last for hours or days. The stinging sensation is caused by formic acid which covers the tiny hairs of the plant.

Believe it or not, stinging nettle can be very useful too. It has been used as a medicine in Europe for over 2,000 years. It can be turned into a tea made from the leaves and stems. This tea has been used to stop bleeding. Stinging nettle seems to have a lot of medical uses, but the nettle root is known to be a diuretic.

It loses its sting when dried or cooked. Be careful when handling. But the reward is well worth the risk of getting a sting. Much like spinach in flavor this green is great in salads, make a pesto with it or maybe use it in salsa verde. My favorite method of prep....soup. Enjoy the recipe


Ingredients:

* 3 Tablespoons EVOO olive oil
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 cup chopped spring onions
* 1/4 cup sherry (dry)
* 1/2 pound nettle tops
* 1 quart vegetable stock
* Salt and Pepper
* 1 cup crème fraiche
* 2 Tablesoons fresh Sorrel
* 1 handful fresh baby spinach

Procedure:

1. Sauté shallots, garlic, and spring onions in butter or olive oil. Add sherry and nettles.
2. Add water and bring to a boil.
3. Cover and simmer until the nettles are very soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add spinach.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste, add creme fraiche, puree using vita prep blender.
5. Add fresh sorrel and serve with more creme fraiche

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