Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Foraging for edibles: Part 2 - Dead nettles

I know the subject of wild edibles, foraging and eating weeds can be tricky, you want to make sure you are properly identifying the plant and not poisoning yourself in the process which is why I'm keeping these posts as simple as I can, and doing one green per post so that you're not getting mixed up or confused.

Today I'm cooking with the Dead nettle, and this variety is not like your stinging nettle, which means you can touch it and pick it and it won't hurt you.  Stinging nettle is used as well in cooking/medicinal and tea preparations but we'll talk about that another day.

This variety of dead nettle, known as "golden anniversary". It grows in my backyard close to the ground and seems to cover the flower beds.  I'm not sure who planted it or where it came from but it is edible and here I'm using it in a German gnocchi like dumpling recipe.


1 and a half large russet potato, boiled and set aside to cool and "dry up"
150 g  flour + more if needed
2 large eggs (set out on the counter, at room temp) 
Pinch of salt
Grating of fresh nutmeg

Peel russet potatoes and add the yellow flesh to a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and knead into a dough. This is best done by hand, even though things can get a big sticky. If it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour.

To form tear off small bits of dough, a small balls, and then place in between your palms and begin rolling your top palm outwards away from you, the ball should turn into a long shape and then set aside until all of them are ready to go into the pot.

Boil a large pot of salted water on the stove top.  Add the dumplings and they're done as soon as they begin to float.  Drain and set aside. After letting them dry off a bit, brown in a pan with butter or vegetable oil.

For the nettles, wash them and chop finely like an herb on the cutting board.

- 1 bunch nettles
- 1 small knob butter
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- Salt and Black pepper

Heat a saucepan and add the butter, sautee the garlic until fragrant on a medium low heat and add the nettles at this point. Cook until they're tender and wilted like a spinach.

When ready to serve add the dumplings into the sauce and sautee, you can add a little bit of the starchy boiling water to form a "sauce" and then check for seasoning and serve immediately.

Oh and feel free to check out my previous foraged edible post on dandelions

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