Nettle Fritters

Nettle Fritters

During my many Covid-19 daily walks this spring, I’ve been seeing plenty of nettles. This prompted me to make some nettle risotto and while I was using nettles, I decided to also make some nettle fritters.

These nettle fritters are really quick and easy to make and absolutely delicious. Light, incredibly crisp and definitely “una tira l’altra”, as we say in Italian (translates as “each one pulls the next”, i.e. you want to keep eating more of them!). They are a perfect snack or starter 🙂

Important when making nettle fritters:

Nettles will give you a nasty rash (urticaria) if you touch them, so when picking them and handling them prior to cooking, wear long sleeves, long trousers, socks & shoes that cover your feet completely. Also wear gloves! Once they are cooked, they are absolutely safe to touch and eat.

Nettle fritters ingredients:

I don’t have any precise quantities for you here but it really is very easy to make this recipe by just throwing the ingredients together. As for how many nettle leaves you need – it depends how many fritters you want to make!

  • Nettle leaves (as many as you want). I picked the top 2-3 leaf layers off each nettle plant by cutting the stem with scissors below the 2nd or 3rd layer of leaves, taking care to get plants whose leaves were in good condition and not too huge…also I went into the nettles to avoid getting the ones right on the edge of the path.
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil for frying
  • Equal quantities of plain white flour and cornflour
  • Cold water (the colder, the better)
  • Fine sea salt
Nettle Fritters
Nettle Fritters – serve as a delicious snack or starter

How to make the nettle fritters

Wash the nettles (carefully – wear gloves!) and remove the leaves from the stalks, keeping only the leaves.

Heat the oil in a saucepan or fryer – you need enough in there to be able to deep fry the nettle leaves, but as long as you only fry a few at a time, you don’t need a huge pan or vast amounts of oil. You want to get the oil hot enough that when you drop a little bit of batter or a small piece of bread in, it starts frying but doesn’t go dark too quickly as the leaves will need time to cook.

Meanwhile, make a fairly runny batter by roughly mixing the flour, cornflour, water and seasoning generously with sea salt.

Still wearing gloves, take one nettle leaf at a time, dip it in the batter to fully coat it and drop it into the hot oil. Repeat with a few more leaves, taking care not to put too many into the frying oil at once as you don’t want them sticking together. Fry the leaves for 2-3 minutes until they are golden in colour and crispy. As you take them out, place them on a couple of folded pieces of kitchen roll to absorb the excess oil.

Serve while they are still warm and crispy.

Nettle Fritters – Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

Advertisement

Nettle Risotto

Nettle Risotto

I hadn’t had nettle risotto for years, since my mum’s alpine neighbour Rosetta (in Valle d’Aosta, in northern Italy) had made it for us when I was a teenager, but I always remembered it as something delicious.

Since we’ve been in Covid-19 lockdown but are allowed out for one bit of daily exercise, I’ve been walking along many fields lined with nettles. I suggested nettle risotto to my hubby and youngest daughter on a number of occasions, but they were a bit put off by…well, the fact it’s nettles!

I decided to make some anyway, just for me… turns out our daughter loved it and hubby didn’t mind it, either! Ha! I feel vindicated! I also had a go at making nettle fritters (recipe here). Also delicious!

Important when making nettle risotto:

Nettles will give you a nasty rash (urticaria) if you touch them, so when picking them and handling them prior to cooking, wear long sleeves, long trousers, socks & shoes that cover your feet completely. Also wear gloves! Once the nettles are cooked, they no longer sting.

Nettle risotto ingredients (for 2-3 people):

Quantities are approximate

  • A small carrier bag full of nettles – quantity / volume includes the bits of stalks at the picking stage (I picked the top 2-3 leaf layers off each nettle plant by cutting the stem with scissors below the 2nd or 3rd layer of leaves, taking care to get plants whose leaves were in good condition and not too huge…also I went into the nettles to avoid getting the ones right on the edge of the path)
  • 2 generous knobs of butter
  • 1 onion
  • Approx. 4 small handfuls of risotto rice (Carnaroli is hailed as an ideal risotto rice and is indeed lovely, but I generally use Arborio, which is a bit less expensive and still delicious and creamy)
  • 500ml stock (either vegetable if you want to make this recipe vegetarian, or chicken stock, which I often use for a richer flavour)
  • Freshly grated parmesan, to taste
Nettle Risotto
Nettle risotto, served with freshly-grated parmesan

How to make the nettle risotto

Wash the nettles (carefully – wear gloves!) and remove the leaves from the stalks, keeping only the leaves.

In a sauté pan or stockpot (ideally non-stick, but it’s not essential, it just makes life easier), melt the butter and add the whole nettle leaves. Leave them to wilt and gently cook on a low heat, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, finely chop the onion.

Remove the nettles from the pan and place them on a chopping board. Add some butter to the pan and add the onions, softening them on a low heat until they are translucent. Keep the heat low as you don’t want them to brown.

While the onions are softening, roughly chop the cooked nettles. They are safe to touch now.

Add the chopped nettles to the onions, stir, then add the risotto rice. Stir, then leave for 2-3 minutes until the rice grains have begun to become a little translucent, stirring frequently.

Add a little of the stock – enough to cover the rice but not so much you’re drowning it. Stir, then leave it cooking on a low heat (just a very gentle simmer), stirring as little as possible so you don’t break the rice grains, until most of the stock has absorbed. Add a little more stock and keep repeating this until the rice grains are almost completely cooked (al dente – still a little bit of hardness at the centre) and the rice is still a bit ‘wetter’ than you’d like your eating consistency to be for the risotto. It should take about 10-15 minutes to get to this stage.

At this point, turn off the heat, put a lid over your pan and leave it for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, your rice should be perfectly cooked, still slightly al dente but not hard, and beautifully moist (but not wet like a soup!).

Stir in a bit of grated parmesan, then serve, and add freshly-grated parmesan (to taste) to each individual portion.

Nettle Risotto – Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

Hearty broccoli and gorgonzola soup

hearty broccoli and gorgonzola soup

On this occasion, my family were having steaks with cream and gorgonzola sauce, so I again decided to stick with the theme and have a matching soup as part of my post-gastric sleeve liquid diet. 

This soup, however, is so rich, indulgent and delicious, that the whole family can enjoy it, regardless whether they need to follow a liquid diet or not! It is a bit higher in calories, and of course cheese with higher fat content contains less protein than low-fat cheese, but as a soup for special occasions, it works!

hearty broccoli and gorgonzola soup

Ingredients (for 4-5 post-bariatric surgery liquid diet portions, or one generous portion for someone not following the diet):

  • 200ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 very small potato
  • 2-3 broccoli florets
  • 50g gorgonzola*

*Note: I couldn’t get hold of any strong gorgonzola on this occasion, so I actually used a delicious, strong yet creamy Saint Aigur blue cheese.  If you use gorgonzola, make sure it’s not Dolcelatte, or mild gorgonzola, or gorgonzola e mascarpone – all of these are amongst my favourites to eat, but are not strong enough in a soup or sauce. 

Method:

Peel the potato and dice it.  Cut the broccoli florets into small pieces, similar to the potato pieces.  Place broccoli, potato and stock in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes and broccoli are well-cooked and soft. 

Add the gorgonzola in small pieces and stir on a low heat until the cheese has melted. 

Place everything in a fine blender and blend until all ingredients have liquidised, then pass through a fine sieve to ensure there are no ‘bits’ (if you are following the post-bariatric surgery liquid diet, otherwise skip this last step!). 

Serve and enjoy!

Gloriously simple, gloriously good!

Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian or medical professional.  These are simply ideas based on meals I have created to suit my own dietary needs and, as I’ve enjoyed them, I wanted to share them. If you are unsure about the suitability of any ingredients or recipes on my blog for your own requirements, please check with a health professional first.