I love Saturday mornings. Typically a work day for us ( being wedding season and all) I make a point of strolling through our farmers market before heading to our kitchen. Somehow the community of people coming together, along with all the beautiful produce injects me with excitement and energy – I always leave feeling inspired and uplifted. Yesterday we left the market with a basketful of nettles, egyptian walking onions, gorgeous pink peonies, lovage, sun chokes and a blue Hubbard winter squash plant. Such small things really, but somehow they bring so much joy.
Have you ever wondered how to cook nettles? This recipe for Steamed Nettles with Toasted Sesame Seeds and Chives is easy to make. It’s earthy and flavorful and very healing. You could serve this along side sweet brown rice and a piece of seared fish or tofu, or toss with soba noodles, or simply eat a bowlful of it, like I do. Nettles are packed full of calcium, iron and magnesium, and are a natural detoxifer.
My friend Tonia adds foraged raw nettles, directly into her smoothies, so know they don’t actually have to be cooked. I have yet to brave this, but will soon.
In this recipe, nettles are seeped in boiling water for a few minutes until their stingers are tamed, then strained and cut, removing the thicker stems. Save the nettle broth and use in soups or drink it like tea. It basically tastes like spinach water, if you can imagine that flavor. Not bad. I temper it with fresh mint form the garden. The steamed nettles are drizzled with toasted sesame oil, sprinkled with salt, toasted sesame seeds, chives and a few blossoms if available. Of course you can bump this up a bit and add sautéed shallot, garlic and/or ginger.
Take 5-6 ounces of nettle tips, about a gallon size zip lock bag, and pour into a large pot with about 6 cups of boiling water. Using tongs, push them down into the water. Bring to a simmer and cook 3-4 minutes, gently simmering. Turn the heat off and let seep 5-10 minutes. Drain, reserving the nutrient rich broth for soups or tea.
Place the drained nettles on a cutting board and remove the thicker, tougher stems – some stems are really ok, don’t feel like you have to remove them all. Chop the remaining nettles and place in one or two bowls. You should have about 1 ½ cups total. I can easily eat all of this in one sitting, so know, 6 ounces of fresh nettles really cooks down a lot.
Drizzle with toasted sesame oil, salt, toasted sesame seeds and chives.
Healing and delicious!
- 6 ounces fresh nettle tips
- salt- generous 5 finger pinch
- 1-2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil ( be sure to use TOASTED)
- generous 5 finger pinch TOASTED sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon chives or chive blossoms
- Bring 6 cups of water to boil in a large pot.
- Using tongs, add nettles to the boiling water and simmer until tender about 5 minutes. Turn heat off, let seep 10 minutes.
- Drain, reserving the nutrient rich nettle broth, saving for soups or tea.
- Place on a cutting board and move only the tough or thick stems. Tender stems are OK.
- Chop the cooked nettles and place in 1 or two bowls. You should have about 1 ½ cups, after it's cooked down.
- Mix in salt. Drizzle with toasted sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, chives and chive blossoms.
- NOTE: Of course you can always bump this up a notch by adding sautéed shallot, garlic and or ginger.