Sunday, March 21, 2010
Nettle Frittata (not to be confused with Nelly Furtado)
Our outdoorsy friend Tanya makes an annual pilgrimage into the wilds to pick nettles. Then she makes some of them into a savory pie for her yearly Pi Day party. This year, we went along for the nettle harvest and made a frittata variation on her delicious pie. If you would like to try Tanya's version, she uses a mashed potato crust from Mollie Katzen's Enchanted Broccoli Forest, and a spinach pie recipe from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
Why nettles? They're full of iron, calcium and antioxidants. They taste like sort of like spinach, but with more integrity and less sliminess. You can substitute spinach if nettles are inaccessible in your area. If you do get your hands on some nettles, make sure those hands are gloved--nettles, when raw, are covered in stinging hairs.
A big bunch of nettles (two cups, once steamed and chopped)
1 tablespoon ghee (or butter or oil)
1/2 an onion, chopped fine
3 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 tablespoon sour cream
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put on some heavy gardening gloves and remove the stems from the nettles. Steam the leaves until wilted. (This will kill their stingers.) Rinse and drain well, then chop.
Meanwhile, melt the ghee in a 10-inch cast-iron pan on medium heat. Saute the onion until softened, then add the scallions and saute for two more minutes. Remove from heat; stir in the nettles and dill.
Combine the eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, salt, pepper and lemon zest in a separate bowl. Once the cast-iron pan has cooled for a few minutes (enough to keep the eggs from cooking on contact), fold the egg mixture into the nettle mixture. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan.
Bake at 350 until the eggs are set and the top is browned (about 30 minutes).