LEMON LOVE NOTES stands for everything I cherish the most when it comes to blogging: my passion for delicious delights, travelling abroad even if by just doing it around the plate, and wrapping everything up in vintage material. You Are What You Eat. Love, Cook & Share. xx Yolanda
My mother recently gave me a tray of boiled frozen nettles and, since I have never cooked nettles before (though I lived on this minty plant in spring as a child), I decided to give it a shot. Romanian-style nettle recipes include flour and/or oil, so going traditional was not an option. Some weeks ago I found an appetizing recipe by Nigel Slater in The Guardian, and because it had been on my mind ever since, it was now a good excuse to try his version.
Creamy Nettles with Ramson, Saffron, Mustard Seeds and Parmesan
In Romania you know spring has arrived when the farmers' market is abundant in the first produce of the year: radishes, spinach, ramson, nettles. It is nature's way to tell us that winter is over.
Type of cuisine: European/Vegetarian, low fat
Cooking time: less than 15 minutes
Difficulty: very easy :)
400 gr of nettles
2 bunches of fresh ramson leaves (approx 100 leaves)
3 tsp crushed mustard seeds
1 tsp freshly crushed coriander seeds
1 small diced tomato (or 2 tbs of diced canned tomatoes)
1/2 glass of single cream (low-fat, 15%)
ciabatta (toasted in the oven)
extra mustard seeds for decoration
Boil the nettles in salty water. Chop the ramson leaves finely. Dice the tomato.
Heat some extra virgin olive oil in the wok and fry the coriander (1 spoon) & mustard seeds (2 spoons) till they pop. Cover - unless you want to spend the rest of the evening rubbing & polishing the cooker shiny! Add the ramson leaves and let them simmer until they reduce. Add the nettles and tomato and toss.
In a separate bowl, pourthe single cream (I always use light, low-fat cream) and mix with the saffron and the remaining tsp of mustard seeds. The cream will turn yellow.
Pour the cream over the nettles and cook over a low flame for 5 minutes.
In the meantime, toast some ciabatta in the oven. Serve the nettle & ramson stew on the toasted bread. Grate some parmesan - you could broil it as well. I didn't, because I didn't have the patience :) Decorate the plate with parmesan, sumac and extra mustard seeds.
The refined taste & crunchy texture of the ciabatta were blending to perfection. What a great combination! I couldn't get enough of it. It was a delicious vegetarian meal that I loved to the last bite.
In lieu of conclusion
Because ramson is also known as wild garlic, I did without proper garlic and I also skipped the salt (it proved to be a naturally salty dish). If you use full-fat cream (30% fat or more), you can mix it with warm water to thin it a little.