I’ve always been a fan of leafy green vegetables—even prickly ones like stinging nettle. In fact, when you look at this plant, you can hardly believe that you can eat it…or even digest it. But with a little heat, the nasty needles that cover the stems and leaves soften and become harmless.
Cooked nettle has a deliciously green and slightly mineral flavor—reminiscent of watercress, but without the peppery element. Aside from its delicate, unique flavor, nettle is incredibly nutritious and has also been used in medicinal remedies for centuries. But I’ll confess that the beneficial factors in any plant, herb or vegetable are never quite enough to entice me to cook with it. What really enchants me is the kaleidoscope of flavors plants offer us. And nettle is a gem that’s so worth exploring.
Here buttermilk is added to the soup to soften the nettle’s greenness. The Meyer-lemon-spiked crème fraîche pairs magnificently with the mineral tones of the nettle and the Sichuan peppers add a marvelous exotic flavor.
All in all, this soup is worth facing the sting of those nettles!
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Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.