Stinging nettles are hot at the farmers markets in Portland right now. The last few Saturdays all vendors have been sold out - but finally I got a bunch. I decided to make a pesto with it mostly because I was scared of handling and figured I could blanch the entire bouquet of sprigs and blend into the trustful Cuisinart instead of picking the leaves off the steams. I went all out Pacific Northwest on this one and used hazelnuts in the pesto. I cut back on the garlic because I didn't want it to distract from the delicate nettle flavor. I used this pesto on top of a french loaf with extra Parmesan to make a pesto bread, then froze the rest and used it with butterball potatoes for my impromptu farmers market dinner party. It was good stuff all the way around.
Pesto in the buff
Butterballs with Pesto
Nettle Hazelnut Pesto
6 cups raw stinging nettles (blanched down to about 2 cups)
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
- Blanch stinging nettles in boiling water for at least 30 seconds to neutralize the stingers.
- Rinse well and squeeze out excess moisture.
- Add all ingredients except nettles in a food processor and whirl to for about 30 seconds to incorporate.
- Add nettles and whirl to desired consistency. I like my stuff chunky obviously, as seen above.
- Use with pasta, bread, potatoes or whatever your heart desires.