I love bringing home nettles from a forage knowing they’re packed with health benefits and great flavor. These stinging leaves lend themselves to creamy applications, pestos, and soups and are definitely worth stocking up on if you find a patch. Don’t forget your gloves: nettle stings can last up to 24 hours.
Note: if you’re cooking this entire recipe in the field, omit the blender and just chop the blanched nettles and parsley and add them to the farro with the cream.
• Chicken or vegetable stock
• Nettles, leaves picked from the stem (can substitute spinach)
• Parsley leaves, for a bit more chlorophyll
• Heavy Cream
• Cobram Estate EVOO
• Squeeze of lemon
• Fresh Chives
Method In the kitchen:
1. Blanch the wild nettles and parsley leaves in heavily boiling salted water. Using a strainer with a handle, remove from the boiling water after a minute and plunge greens directly into salted ice water.
2. Warm the heavy cream and be careful to not boil over. Squeeze the excess water from the nettles and parsley and give them a rough chop before adding to a blender. Fill the blender half way up with cream and blend on high until you’ve achieved a nice, pale green cream. Set cream aside.
By the fire:
• Toast the farro in a dutch oven over the coals with a bit of EVOO and salt. Cover the farro with a little more than double the volume of chicken stock. Bring to a boil and cover with a lid. Position the dutch oven in a space by the fire to allow a gentle simmer.
• As soon as the farro is tender, stir in the nettle cream. Let the farro and cream bubble away a bit. The cream will reduce and give the farro a lovely texture.
• Finish by folding in chopped chives, a squeeze of lemon, and a few pinches of salt if you need it.