Quick Bites from Pender

Stinging Nettle Mayonnaise – Recipe

In Island Life, Recipes on February 19, 2010 at 5:02 am

nettles-scissors-glove

I get excited about nettles.  I have a little patch, on the other side of our back fence, that I have been cultivating for the past few years.  It’s far enough from my garden so that I don’t have to worry about weed containment, and far enough off the dog walker’s path to avoid contamination, if you know what I mean.

yolk-dijon-mayoMy little private nettle garden burst forth with life this week.  I checked last Friday, and was disappointed to find none — especially since friends on other parts of our little island were already Facebooking about nettle smoothies and soup.

Perseverance took me back on Tuesday, and behold!  They were there — February will be “Nettle Month” after all.  (And maybe part of March too.)  What?  I have a long nettle list…

stinging-nettle-oil

I chose to steep the nettle leaves in warmed oil to eliminate any chance of stinging.  I very much doubt it would be an issue, but where the inside of my mouth is concerned, I like to play it safe.  Call me Chicken.

Although I don’t recommend skipping the steeping stage, if you decide to go for it, let me know how it goes.

Stinging Nettle Mayonnaise

Yield:  1 Cup

Vegetable Oil ¾ C + 2T 200 ml
Nettles, young leaves only, stems trimmed ½ C 125 ml
Garlic, thinly sliced 1 clove
Egg Yolk, large 1
Dijon Mustard 1 t 5 ml
Lemon Juice 2 t 10 ml
Cayenne Pepper TT
S+P TT

C=cup       ml=millilitres     T=tablespoon       t=teaspoon
TT=to taste

Heat the oil gently in a small pot over medium heat until 100˚F (warm to the touch).  Remove from heat; add nettles and garlic and stir to coat nettles.  Allow to cool completely to room temperature.

Place the yolk and Dijon in the small bowl of a food processor (see Tips).  Pulse 3 or 4 times to blend.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.  With the motor on, pour the oil from the nettles through the food chute in a slow and steady stream.  Once all of the oil is incorporated and the mayonnaise is thickening, stop the motor and add all of the nettles.  Puree until smooth.  Add the lemon juice, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with Cold Oil French Fries, on burgers/sandwiches, on an Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich, add chopped pickle and capers for nettle tartar sauce, thin to make a salad dressing, and on, and on.

Tips:

  • Wear gloves when handling uncooked nettles.
  • Use only the young tips of the plant.  The big leaves at the bottom are tough, old and bitter (it’s a rough life).
  • Wash your nettles in a large bowl of cool water with a splash of vinegar (to kill any bugs).  Dry in a dish towel.
  • No nettles?  Substitute fennel fronds, young dill, and on, and on.

stinging-nettle-mayo

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  1. You.ARE.So.BRAVE! I’ve yet to, ever, use nettles as food. I know. I know. But when we grow up…getting stung…we don’t forget. Right? I love your blog so much!

  2. You actually grow nettles on purpose? Really? And does blanching them really remove the possibility of stings?

    • Thanks for stopping by Twyla! I “manage” a patch of nettles in the forest behind our yard. They are delicious — taste like spinach — VERY nutritious (full of iron). I don’t even bother blanching them anymore, as the oil takes the sting away. They can also be eaten picked straight from the plant, but I’m not brave enough to try that!

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