This past weekend we went out hiking in the Gorge and came across a descent sized crop of stinging nettle. Luckily Liam had a knife and leather gloves in his backpack so I was able to collect a pretty descent sized bag full without getting stung once. To use I washed the nettles in a colander, using tongs to pick them up. First I put to them to use for breakfast in a Nettle Frittata.
I have a small 8" cast iron frying pan that is perfect sized for a two serving frittata, you could increase the ingredients accordingly to serve more in a larger pan.
A couple handfuls washed (use gloves and be cautious!) fresh stinging nettle tops and leaves
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, chopped,
1 small zucchini, grated with as much moisture squeezed out as possible
4 eggs, beaten in a bowl
1 T milk or cream
salt and pepper
2 T butter
crumbled queso fresco, goat cheese or feta
Turn on oven broiler and bring a 4 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pot. Using gloves or tongs add nettles to the boiling water, stirring a couple times. Turn water down to simmer.
In the mean time melt butter in cast iron pan and saute onion and garlic until onions are clear and fragrant. Remove nettles from hot water and press as much moisture out as possible using a dish towel, or paper towel. Chop roughly. Add nettles and zucchini to onions in pan. Add salt and pepper and milk or cream to the bowl of beaten eggs. Add eggs to cooking vegetables, stirring very gently to combine. Continue to cook on low heat until eggs are just set at the bottom of the pan but still runny on top. Crumble cheese on top and place entire frying pan under preheated broiled until eggs puff up on top and brown slightly. Keep a close eye on the frittata while its under the broiler and take care not to burn.
The second thing I made with the nettles was creamy polenta with sauteed nettles, garlic and mushrooms, topped with sunny side up eggs and homemade chorizo.
With the rest, I was considering making a soup, but I had a fridge full of perishable groceries needing to be used first so I dried the rest out on a screen. Once dried the nettles lose their sting and can be used for cooking or for a nutrient rich and delicious tea.