Saturday, April 25, 2009

Nettle Soba Salad

Nettle Soba Salad

Winter has truly come to an end, with or without the sun the nettles are popping up all over the place. Nettles are easy to forage, however finding them in an unpolluted area can be more tricky. Use gloves or a firm hand as to not get stung, and cut with a sharp knife or scissors so they can have a shot to come back. This recipe seems to be a starch on starch, but I thought the sweet yam flavor cut the pungent greens perfectly... and being chocked full of nutritious greens can afford some carbohydrate stacking. I previously made an authentic nettle pesto, but did not have any pine nuts or cheese on hand today. Far less fussy then pesto, I simply combined the cooked and drained nettles in a food processor with a little olive oil and a lot of garlic. I could see using this in many dishes: roasted potatoes, root vegetables, even an omelet. I happened to have Russian kale and dandelion greens needing to be used up, but any leafy green would suffice. This makes a great lunch, pot luck item, or even a main course. enjoy.


1 box buckwheat soba noodles 
1 yam cut in 1/2 inch cubes(I used Japanese sweet)
1/2 head kale
1/2 head dandelion greens
2 cups cooked and drained nettle greens
5 garlic cloves
1/2 red onion diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt to taste

Boil a small pot of water and place cubed yam in for about 15 minutes or until tender and set aside. In small skillet sauté' kale, dandelion, in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, adding a little water if necessary, only wilt the green slightly.(less than 5 minutes) Place greens in with yams. Boil water for noodles, and cook for about 8 minutes. Drain and place in with yams and greens. For the nettles flash boil fresh leaves, equal to 2 cups when drained, and place in ice water. (I usually do as many as possible at once and save blanched leaves in fridge or freezer.)  Chop nettles roughly and place in food processor with 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic cloves, pulsing until pesto consistency is reached. Mix nettles in, and add salt and diced red onion. top with farmers cheese if desired.