Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Wild stinging nettle

When I got back home from the allotment yesterday, I took the nettle leaves of the stems and weighed them. I only managed to collect 60g nettle leaves, not the 150g I needed for the gnocchi recipe. The amount I had would have to do for our meal. Surprisingly nettle loses most of its stinginess after an hour of so after picking.

I tried nettle for the first time last year, encouraged by Denis Cotters recipe for Nettle Risotto which was absolutely delicious. It is a taste that I cannot describe, but I would encourage you to try it, even if it is as Nettle soup. And no, it won’t sting your tongue whilst your eating it.

Wild Nettle and potato Gnocchi
Serves four or six as a starter
600g floury potato, peeled
60g young nettle leaves
60g hard goat cheese, grated. I used St Helens Farm goat cheese
1 egg yolk
Salt and pepper to taste
100g plain flour, you may need extra depending on potato consistency
1 tablespoon of olive oil
4 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of fresh sage leaves, if small keep whole, if large chop them.
3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
100g goats cheese, grated for sprinkling

For the gnocchi
chop the potatoes into even sized pieces and boil them until tender. Mash the potatoes. Cook the nettle leaves for 5 minutes in boiling water, and then cool under cold water. Squeeze out all the water and mince the nettles as fine as you can with a knife of mezzaluna, then stir into the potato mash. Add 60g of grated cheese, egg yolk and season to taste. Add the flour and blend thoroughly.
Take a handful of potato mix and roll into a long tubular shape and cut of pieces into an inch long and place onto floured surface. Do this until all the potato mix has been used.
To cook gnocchi, drop batches into a large saucepan of boiling water. The gnocchi is done when it floats to the surface. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon until all are cooked. You can refrigerate at this stage, or freeze them for up to 10 days, but do coat in a little plain flour.
For butter sauce. Add oil and butter in a pan and fry garlic and sage leaves for a couple of minutes, then add the gnocchi stirring gently to reheat.

Share out the gnocchi between plates and sprinkle over the grated goats cheese. Serve immediately.
Inspired by Denis Cotters Wild Garlic, gooseberries and me


  1. Very impressive to find this recipe for Wild Nettle and Potato Gnocchi. Nettles are some of the first wild greens that pop up here in the Hudson Valley and I know they are packed with nutrients and flavor. (Young, that is, not the big stinging ones!)
    Interesting blog; I enjoyed the story about your trip to the veggie show - what were those "prawns" made of?

  2. Thank you very much Barbara.
    The vegan prawns were made from wheat, seaweed extract, chilli spices and seasoning. I am assuming that the wheat protein used in this product is the product known as seitan. Seitan has not taken off in the UK as it has in the USA and Canada.

  3. I have never tried nettles. Are they bitter? I don't like bitter greens very much. Your gnocchi are gorgeous!

  4. You should use young nett.e Nettle is not bitter, it has a mild taste, I can only compare it to laverbread or even spinach, but much tastier.


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