This time last year I was scraping snow off my car and worrying if Spring would ever arrive. A week later I had a call about our first foraging course asking if we would be hunting polar bears!
No problems this year though ( I hope I am not speaking too soon) as wonderful wild edibles are popping up all over the place and although they are still quite small, they are at their most succulent.
This is the time of year for old favourites like nettles and wild garlic.
A bit obvious?… Maybe but full of flavour and incredibly versatile these two are so good at this time of year we definitely shouldn’t ignore them just because they are familiar. Anyway there is more to nettles than soup and tea.
Try this easy and delicious recipe that is so packed full of goodness it works as a tonic!…Well almost.
We had this for dinner last night and these quantities serve 2 massive portions, so probably 3 or 4 normal sized ones.
Wild garlic and Nettle gnocchi with brown butter and ricotta
200g fresh spinach
100g Wild garlic leaves
100g Stinging Nettles
70g freshly grated parmesan
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground pepper
400g SR flour, plus more for dusting
3 tablespoons butter
Parmesan and ricotta , for serving
In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch the spinach and nettles until tender , about 3 minutes. Drain, reserving a little of the cooking liquid. Squeeze the mixture to remove most of the water. Wipe out the pot, fill with water and bring to a gentle simmer.
Meanwhile, transfer the spinach and nettles to a food processor. Add a tablespoon of the reserved cooking liquid, and the wild garlic then puree until very smooth.
Scrape the spinach puree into a large bowl and mix in 70g of grated parmesan cheese, egg, 1 teaspoon of salt and a good grinding of pepper. Stir in the flour a little at a time until you have a wet dough.
Spread the remaining flour in a pie plate and dust a large rimmed baking sheet with flour. Make sure your hands are well floured as the dough is quite sticky and gently roll the gnocchi dough into 1-inch balls. Carefully roll the gnocchi in the flour, shake off the excess and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
Add salt to the simmering water. Add half of the gnocchi to the pot and cook until they rise to the surface, then simmer until cooked through, about 3 minutes (about 5 minutes total cooking time). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to a platter. Cover loosely with foil. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.
In a frying pan, cook the butter over moderate heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Spoon the brown butter over the gnocchi. Top with Parmesan shavings and small pieces of ricotta and serve.