The body of Artemisia is made up of one tried-and-true Virginia-raised Shenandoah native, and one transplanted New Hampshire-ite raised on lobster rolls and Moxie. The latter has it on good accord that to eat in the Southern way involves certain requirements:
- Butter must be present.
- Greens are to be cooked with bacon in order to achieve ideal palatability.
- Time and responsibilities cease when the cornbread is removed from the oven.
- Wild edible plants are to be celebrated.
While raw nettles are irritating, rendering them safe to consume is easy. Heat dispels the sting of nettles, to include a thorough sauté in plenty of oil, butter, or fat. However, to avoid accidental incidences of undercooking, we prefer to blanch them prior to further preparation.
To blanch nettles:
- Bring a large pot of boiling water to a boil with a generous portion of salt.
- Separately, prepare a boil of ice water.
- Dunk the nettles into the boiling water for a few seconds. Remove them quickly and submerge in in the ice water. Squeeze out any excess water.
The nettles may then be chopped and added to soups, dips, or sautéed just as you would any other green.
- ¼-½ lb Nettles
- 3-5 slices of bacon
- 1-2 tablespoons chicken or vegetable stock
- Salt, to taste
- Bake bacon in the oven at 400ºF for about 10 minutes. This will not be fully crispy, but close enough. If you have a slotted tray with a catch-tray below, this is ideal to use, as saving the bacon fat is very easy.
- Set the bacon aside to cool slightly and drain the fat (before it gets too cool) into a glass jar to keep.
- Rough chop the bacon with a knife when its cool enough to handle.
- Blanch the nettles just as detailed above.
- In a large skillet or cast iron pan on medium heat, add a little bit of bacon fat: enough to cover the bottom of the pan.
- Add in the blanched nettles and bacon pieces.
- Sauté until they start to sizzle and add stock.
- Sauté for a moment more until the stock has mostly incorporated.
- Season with salt to taste.