May 10, 2007

Free gourmet food

Today´s Swedish word: gratis. Means free.

Farmers must be careful with money and every saved krona can be put somewhere else where it is more needed. A classic saying from my father is "Un-bought, that is the best thing there is!" When he finds something for free, or when he can fix something that is broken not having to replace it he smiles pleasantly and says it, with a certain glow to him.

As I am very much my father´s daughter, last weekend these little stingy darlings made me glow. Nettles, true gourmet food. Tasty, very good for you and best of all: they are free. Well, apart from a few drops of fuel for the car that is. We decided to go and pick a good bunch of them while they are still fresh and delicate, for freezing and using later on. The only downside is the stingy part of the business, even if I wear thick gloves I always seem to get burned somewhere, picking or preparing.

We used some of the nettles for soup and some for a frittata, and froze the rest in small bags for soups and pies later. Pick as many small, delicate, fresh nettles as you want and put them in a large bowl or the wash basin in the kitchen, with lots of cold water. Stir and work with your hands (they don´t burn in water if you are careful) very carefully so the sand sinks to the bottom. Pick out grass, leaves, bugs and woody stalks and scoop up the nettles into a large pan. Bring to the boil with water and let simmer for abot 15 minutes. Strain the nettles (save the stock for soup!) and pack into plastic bags or chop them and use for example in a...

Nettle frittata
Serves 4

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
olive oil for frying
about 100 grams parboiled nettles
150 ml grated cheese, I used some "ordinary" cheese and some parmesan
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
4 eggs

Put the oven on 200C. Fry the onion in the oil until soft and shiny. Add the chopped nettles and stir in. Whisk the eggs and add the onions and nettles, stir in the cheese and spice to taste with salt and pepper.
Grease a small ovenproof dish or line it with greaseproof paper. Pour in the egg batter and bake until settled, about 15-20 minutes. Serve hot, tepid or cold with for example smoked salmon.

Recipe from Swedish TV chef Maud Onnermark, originally with green kale but I have used both spinach and now nettles.


Elle said...

Have never used stinging nettles, but this sounds delicious and I love the foraging that you did. I do that with berries when they ripen, and sometimes black walnuts which can be found on the ground along the road or in parks, ready to be picked.

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