What an exciting time of the year early spring is. Mother nature begins to wake from her winter slumber and the green shoots and new years growth starts its push toward sunlight. One of the first edible plants to be seen is the easy to recognise Stinging Nettles. The Stinging Nettle is simply one of the most nutritious leaves you can eat, full of Vitamins and rich in Iron it is not only healthy but also a very tasty vegetable. This soup is simple and doesn't take to long to make, when accompanied by an equally easy to make Garlic Mustard Oil it elevates what could be a simple soup to a new and even tastier dimension!
Cream of Nettle Soup
100ml crème fraîche
Handful of Pumpkin Seeds for Garnish
Garlic Mustard Oil
50ml Rapeseed or Olive Oil
50g Garlic Mustard Leaves, washed
Wash the Stinging Nettles well (use gloves!). Get a large pan on the stove and over gentle heat melt the butter. Finely chop your Onion, Celery, Carrot and add them to the pan with a pinch of Salt and sweat for five minutes (don't colour the vegetables you want them to sweeten, the onions will become translucent).
Now add the Stinging Nettles and allow the leaves to completely wilt, then add the stock and allow to simmer for 10 minutes - its this heat that destroys the sting in the nettles.
Whilst the nettles are simmering make your Garlic Mustard Oil. This is so simple it is barely a recipe! Add your leaves and your Oil to a blender and blend. Decant into a suitable container (one that you can accurately pour from and keep in the fridge) and that's it. It will keep for a week or so in the fridge and you'll end up finishing loads of dishes with it - my favourite is to finish mashed potato with the oil, however it also can be used as a dressing or even to make an amazing homemade mayonnaise.
Back to the soup, once the 10 minutes have passed pour the soup into a clean blender and purée the Stinging Nettles until the mixture is smooth.
Return to the pan and stir in most of the the Crème Fraîche, add a good grating of nutmeg and correct the seasoning, soup done!
In a dry pan lightly heat the Pumpkin seeds and gently toast.
To serve simply ladle the warm soup into a suitable bowl, now here's the bit that elevates it from good to wonderful! Using a teaspoon take the remaining Crème Fraîche and using the tip of the spoon lightly stir the top of the soup so that you get creamy white rings of Crème Fraîche on the surface. Now using a pourer and again in rings overlapping the Crème Fraîche add your Garlic Mustard Oil - you don't need an oil slick, just some thin rings of this wonderful garlic flavoured oil. Finally sprinkle some of the toasted Pumpkin Seeds over the steaming soup and serve with warm bread and butter.. Who would have thought that health food could be so good!!
Wild Food Home