Much loved by the caterpillars of red admiral butterflies, young nettle tops are also a bit of a seasonal delicacy for us, but must be used before the nettles grow too big as they toughen and roughen as they age. So, wearing gloves, we picked a couple of ounces of young nettles (they still sting, even when newly grown!), rinsed them and then made a nettle rissoto, with Italian arborio rice and some home-made stock from a free-range turkey. The nettles break up gradually as the stock is stirred in a ladle-full at a time, so the green colour escapes a little and the nettles end up as little fragments (they don't sting once cooked!). We added, at the end, some cooked frozen peas, a generous grating of parmesan and some ground black pepper.
I'm sure nettles will feature again in the next couple of months, while they remain edible.
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