Our favourite evil genius Julie is back, with a recipe that she promises will ‘give you the hair and bladder of Gwyneth Paltrow’. Argh! – Jean
One of my children came in crying the other day after being stung by a nettle. This made me both sad and happy as I realized I’ve loads of nettles growing near my house and I’d been meaning to make nettle pesto. I’d recently spent €4.50 on a tiny jar of it at a market and demolished it thinking, in that Irish way, “ Sure, you could make a ton of this for €4.50!”. That didn’t work the day I tried to make marshmallows but I have a selective memory.
So, after some dock leaf rubbing, all was fine and I set about filling a colander full of the stuff. It’s easy to make, the health benefits are huge and (my neighbour confirmed this- although she might have been put on the spot by my eagerly presenting her a jar from the shadows at 10pm) really delicious.
Ingredients (will make 2 medium sized jars):
- A colander/large bowl of nettle leaves (wear gloves)
- A handful of grated parmesan (keep whole if putting in food processor)
- Handful of nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, cashews, whatever nuts you have)
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled (less if you’re not fond of garlic as it comes through strongly)
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- ½ tsp salt and some black pepper
- Approx 6 good lugs of olive oil
Have a bowl of iced water at the ready.
Make sure there are no stalks or nettle flowers in the colander (they will irritate the urinary tract). Wash the leaves and place in a large pot of boiling salted water.
Blanch for 3 minutes then lift with a slotted spoon and put in the ice water to cool and keep green. The sting is now gone.
Put some kitchen paper on a tea towel and place the nettles onto it, fold over and squeeze the liquid out.
Put them in a food processor with the other ingredients. (If doing by hand just chop them up, grate the cheese and garlic and grind down the nuts with a pestle and mortar before mixing with the rest.). Process to desired consistency and add more oil if it’s not loose enough.
Put into sterilized jars (dishwashered or washed and in oven @ 120c for 15 mins). Eat on crackers, pasta, meat, cheese, your hand…but use within 5 days.