Nettle tips are delicious in the Spring and early summer although they shouldn't be eaten once they grow rough and start to flower as they can be irritating then. They are incredible good source of iron, calcium, silica, other minerals, vitamins and a very rich source of plant protein, not to mention fibre! Traditionally they are used to condition hair and make it strong and glossy (both humans and horses), to make bones and nails strong and strengthen chicken egg shells.
- 500g nettle tops (half a carrier bag)
- 100g (2 handfuls) of wild garlic (any part of the plant)
- 1 large onion (finely chopped)
- 1 potato (peeled and diced)
- 1 tbsp dried mushroom powder (any edible bolete)
- 1 length of dried kelp
- 1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce (optional)
- 2 tbsp good quality olive oil
- 2 litres hot water
- Rinse the wild garlic leaves (including buds and flower if you have - leaving a few aside for decoration) and chop roughly.
- Rinse the nettle tops in a colander and put aside. I pick the nettle tops with scissors, snipping them off them using the scissors as tweezers - it's really quite fast and I am still a bit of a nettle coward!
- Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan and add the chopped onion. Sweat for 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the diced potato and stir. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the seasoning, then the nettles and the wild garlic.
- Add 2 litres of hot water and the kelp, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
- Take off the heat and cool. Remove the kelp. Adjust the seasoning. When cool, use a stick blender to fully liquidise the soup. Or pour into a blender, liquidise and then return to the pan.
- For an absolute taste revolution, add some freshly made horseradish cream. A large tablespoon stirred into the pot is completely mind blowing!
- Reheat and serve.
This is a quite a rich soup and fairly thick. You may need to add extra liquid when you reheat it. Decorate it by dribbling over a little cream or chilli oil (although not chilli with the horseradish!) and adding a few open wild garlic flowers or a bud!