Saturday, March 13, 2010

More Nettles, But No More Urban Market

GSNW contributor and chef Kathryn LaSusa Yeomans (below left) has been collaborating with Springwater Farm at the Urban Farm Stand every Saturday this past winter, preparing delectable soups, sautés and samples for the 'hoodistas stopping by their stand at NE 30th and Emerson. Now comes word that the stand will be ceasing operation when farmers' market season opens this Saturday, Mar. 20th. I personally thank them for brightening one corner of NE Portland, and hope that they return next winter!

It sure feels like spring, and though we're not quite into morel season, it's seeming closer by the day. In fact, nettles and fiddlehead ferns are already here. Find them along with plenty of wonderful mushrooms, fruit, eggs, lamb, goat, preserves, cider and legumes at the spring market. Stop by for a taste of the spring bounty!

Nettle and Egg Flan
Adapted from Lidia Bastianich

Eggs are a delicious, cheap source of complex proteins and good fats. They make an excellent weekday lunch or dinner, and this recipe can be made ahead and reheated easily. Nettles are one of the first wild greens that emerge in the spring. They are similar to spinach in nutrient content, but are much richer in iron and trace minerals—think super spinach! Substitute spinach, Swiss chard or other greens if nettles are unavailable. Also, nettle cooking water can be used for cooking rice or as a broth for making soup.

Softened butter for the ramekins or flan molds
1/2 lb. fresh young nettle leaves
4 large farm fresh eggs
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 c. chopped chives or green onion tops
4 fresh sage leaves
1/3 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano or Asiago cheese
2 c. heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 275° and place the rack in the center position. Butter six 8-oz. ceramic ramekins, glass custard cups or disposable aluminum cups and set aside.

Cook the nettle leaves in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Drain thoroughly, rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle, then with your hands, squeeze out as much water as possible.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg together until blended. Combine the squeezed nettles, chives and sage in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the egg mixture and grated cheese and process until the mixture is extremely smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and process until thoroughly incorporated, about 30 seconds.

Divide the nettle mixture among the prepared ramekins. Set the ramekins in a large baking dish so they don’t touch each other. Place the dish on the oven rack and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the centers are firm to the touch, about an hour.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and let the flans cool in the water for 10 minutes. Run a thin-bladed knife around the sides of the ramekins and invert the flans onto serving plates. Serve with a light tomato sauce or a simple green salad.


Ivy said...

Wow. Half a pound of nettles! Ouch. Sounds yummy though.

Kathleen Bauer said...

With 2 cups of cream, we probably won't be making it here, alas, but let me know if you attempt it!

Christine said...

Thanks again for letting us know about that great little market - it helped me when I was really jonesin' for farmer's market season to begin. I made a nettles tart right after you blogged about it, and scored a few nice ingredients like truffle salt to boot!

Kathleen Bauer said...

Thanks, Christine! Love the sharing…

Ruth Trowbridge said...

Awesome recipe - I have 2 cups of creamy homemade yogurt I am going to use instead to cream - I just have to try this one! peace