Tag Archives: nettles

Spring Stinging Nettle Frittata


Spring is here and the nettles are back!

Like most edibles that grow we are most enthusiastic when they first arrive. One minute we’re scrabbling around searching for the baby plants, the next there is a veritable jungle standing three feet high.

They are a bonus in the kitchen but a curse for gardeners. In my case it’s a perk to be able to use something so pesky.

Young nettles are tasty and tender. The part of the plant that needs to be picked is the tip – a bit like picking tea. If you are careful they won’t sting you but if you’re in a hurry or in doubt wear a pair of gloves. Either way use a pair of scissors to snip the tips from the plants.

Nettles are a specialty of the Northern hemisphere, they don’t grow in Australia nor anywhere that isn’t fertile and wet which rules out quite a lot of the world. Their prolific growth in Ireland proves they are very happy in this climate. If you have a nettle patch that bugs you or is getting out of control just keep cutting it back and it’ll eventually get exhausted and give up.

Before you do that, and whilst they are young and tender you might enjoy this months recipe. Each year we seem to have some kind of nettle culinary craze. We’ve made pestos, herby Greek pies, smoothies and soups and this year we’re on nettle and herb frittata with local buffalo ricotta cheese. I put in fennel weed, parsley and chives, which are growing in our garden. Use whatever herbs you can get your hands on, soft green ones are best – parsley, chervil, basil, mint or chives…… Wild garlic would be good too if you could make it down to the woods.


Nettle, Herb and Ricotta Frittata

1 onion

25mls olive oil

6 eggs

1litre of young nettle tips

a big handful of any herbs – fennel, parsley, basil, chives etc

150g buffalo ricotta

salt and pepper

Peel and chop the onion. Heat a small non-stick pan and add enough olive oil to barely cover the bottom and then add the chopped onion. Turn the heat to medium and gently cook the onion until it softens. Season with a little salt. Stir in the nettles, keep the heat on medium and cook gently until the nettles wilt and soften.

Chop any green herbs that you are using.

Crack the eggs into a bowl, season with a little salt and pepper whisk them to mix then stir in the chopped herbs and wilted nettles. Break the ricotta into clumps and gently stir in, don’t over mix, you need a little lumpiness.

Put the pan back on the heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. When the pan is hot pour in the nettle and egg mix then turn the heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook gently for three to four minutes. The frittata should be setting. Put the grill on hot and pop the frittata under to finish. Don’t leave it to go too golden, just a little. It’s better a little soft than overdone as it’ll continue cooking off the heat the heat.




Ortiga Tortilla


Now that the woofas have discovered that we can eat nettles we have a new culinary craze in our household. They were clearing around the fruit bushes this morning and of course what did they discover? Nettles. Lots of baby ones, which they picked and put into a large flowerpot . Todays lunch is Spanish tortilla with nettles. The Spanish woofa is in charge of  making the basic tortilla – there’s no disputing that they have the best technique- and I am in charge of the nettles which are washed and ready to sneak in with the spuds.


The potatoes are cooked with garlic in plenty of olive oil and the onions are cooked separately, which is where I sneak in the nettles. When all the veg are cooked the olive oil is drained off and everything is mixed with beaten eggs – six or seven in this case – seasoned with salt and then the mix is slipped back into one of the frying pans. When it’s half cooked the tortilla is inverted onto a plate and flipped over,


I have to say that we have always cooked our tortillas more but I’m beginning to realise that a ‘prized’ tortilla is slightly wet in the middle.



If you don’t eat it too quickly it does in fact firm up and cook completely – this is from the residue heat – and it definitely tastes good this way.

We ate it with ‘blond’ coleslaw on the side. The tortilla was delicious but next time for such a fatty tortilla I think we’ll use more nettles. The flavour was there but it was subtle enough.



Nourishing Nettle Soup

We were planting out onion sets in the garden this morning on a newly dug and composted spot.

It turned out that we had more onions than composted spot and the mission expanded to building a new compost frame so that we could move the top of the next compost and then we could access the prized gold underneath. We – being myself and the Woofas – managed to build the new construction and then we set about putting lots of twiggy bits down the bottom so that air can circulate. First of all we tidied up all the bits under the trees looking for suitable twigs then we spotted the fennel plantation in the chicken run. There were some prize twiggy bits there so we moved in and what did we discover? Lots of new nettles. Yum! What a treat, and funnily enough the chickens are not the least bit interested in these.

We picked the young tops from the nettles and I totally diverted from compost heap building and cooked soup for lunch




Nettle Soup

nettle tops – 1 litre jug full

1 onion- peeled and chopped

25g butter or 25mls olive oil

2 stems celery- finely chopped

1-2 potatoes- peeled and diced

a handful of spinach

salt and pepper

about 600mls vegetable stock

creme fraiche or cream to serve

Melt the butter in a sauce pan or add the oil. Stir in the chopped onions and celery. When they start to sweat and melt down add the chopped potatoes and a little salt. Cook gently for about ten minutes. Tip the nettles into a large bowl of water and gently sort them out. They won’t sting you if you don’t grab them. Put them into a colander to drain. Give the colander a good shake then stir the nettles into the other vegetables. Cook for a few minutes on a fairly high heat until the nettle tops have wilted. Wash and shred the spinach and stir in. Cook until it wilts then add about 600mls vegetable stock and bring everything to the boil. Cook for 4-5 minutes then buzz and season. Serve with a swirl of cream or creme fraiche.

It’s good to gently cook the potatoes, it gives better flavour but don’t overcook the soup once the nettle tops are in otherwise the soup might end up looking like Gollum juice.