Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nettle Croquettes



If you pick the tender young leaves of stinging nettles (using gloves, of course) you can make a variety of dishes. In Italy we use them to make fillings for pasta (like tortelloni) and pies, to make risotto, soups, as a side vegetable, or in frittata. The other day I made these croquettes.

Pick only the tips, with the smaller leaves. The nettles need to be washed, and then boiled until tender. Once cooked they won't sting anymore! Then drain them (you can keep the water and use it as hair rinse against hair fall) and place them in a frying pan with garlic, olive oil and salt, and sauté them for a few minutes. Now they are ready to be eaten, but I went a bit further for the croquettes:



When cold I mix them with two egg yolks and lots of bread crumbs, enough to get a paste that could be shaped into croquettes. (I removed the garlic, not everybody likes to find a 'surprise' in their croquette!)


Finally I fried them in olive oil on both sides. Excellent hot, but they can also be eaten cold. If you make them flatter and larger they can be used as veggie burgers. Vegans could omit the egg yolk and use a little oil instead. Nettles are rich in vitamins A, C and D, and they are a good source of iron, calcium, potassium and manganese. The dried leaves also make an excellent tea.



Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©

9 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. Nettle is my favourite wild weed to eat. You know I've cooked a number of recipes with nettles, I love nettle risotto and soup, and have even made potato cakes, but these little morsels just take the prize. Delectable bites.

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  3. I've never tried nettle tea, but I will surely give it a go.
    Your croquettes seem so yummy! I'll follow your vegan version and try them, since I sometimes go and pick nettles.

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  4. These look really interesting. I make a nettle soup in the springtime and it is very nice. I can imagine how good your croquettes must be. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  5. Thank you all for your comments. Really nice to eat nettles, and I must take advantage while I am in Italy, as they are a weed in NZ, and difficult to find anyway.

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  6. I do drink nettle tea, but haven't cooked with them because they do not grow in our yard. I will have to expand my search. The croquettes look delicious, and I love your tip for using the water to rinse your hair. What a fabulous "weed" indeed!

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  7. I've always wanted to cook with nettles since I knew they had a lot of health benefits. I wonder if I can find them in Austria...Will have to figure out what they're called (not as easy as looking in a dictionary because Austrian German food words are often different from the German German.

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