Sunday, May 22, 2011

Nettles called...

Oh, hi! Hey, nettles called. They asked me to tell you to stop talking about that part of your yard where “nothing grows.”

No way, you say. Nettles are something, all right. Look how mean they are! They are covered with these little stickers full of formic acid, the same stuff in ant bites and bee stings. You think you can be friends with nettles, but if you get close, they burn you every time. Amirite?

OK, you have a point. But if you just handle them right, nettles are cool. They can hang out in all kinds of snacks, like pasta and soup and frittata and stuff. Sometimes when you meet a vegetable and you can’t seem to get along, you should just do what you like to do until you get to know each other better, K?

Like, if you have 15 minutes, some cheese, and a couple of tortillas, maybe you guys could make quesadillas together. Then you’ll be just chillin’ with a beer, you and your new friend Nettles.

Nettle Quesadillas
1 bunch nettles (mine came from Harmony Valley)
1 cup shredded cheese
8 corn tortillas
2 T oil
Salt to taste
A dollop of salsa if you want

Wear gloves to pick the nettle leaves off the stems. Wash them well and spin them dry. There should be about 2 tightly packed cups of leaves.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a heavy frying pan. Toss the nettles in the hot oil until they reduce in volume and cook through; you may need to throw a splash of water in the pan to keep things from sticking. Remove the cooked nettles to a plate or bowl and season to taste.

Wipe out the frying pan, add just enough oil to coat the bottom, and reheat. Lay a pair of corn tortillas in the pan. When they begin to puff up, flip them over. They should have toasty brown spots on them. Put about a quarter cup of cheese and a quarter of the nettles on one of the tortillas. Stack the other tortilla, toasted side down, on top.

When the cheese gets melty, flip the quesadilla over and cook until the last tortilla surface is toasty. Turn it out onto a plate, quarter it, and top with salsa maybe. Hand it immediately to someone to eat. Cook the remaining quesadillas in the same way.

Peace out!

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Thanks for your comments - nothing scatological, please. If you wouldn't bring it in the kitchen, please don't say it here.