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Stinging Nettle, Meyer Lemon, Pecan and Garlic Pesto

Posts: 1767
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Lunch today was leftover salmon, so I whipped up a stinging nettle pesto that turned out fantastic. I've got all sorts of nettles planted under my citrus trees as a part of a lady bug guild and they are doing really well there. But I'm not crazy about eating them, despite trying them about 10 different ways. It's the fuzzy texture that I don't like. Heck -- I even sauted them in bacon fat --- how could that not be wonderful? You can saute peanut shells in bacon fat and they'd taste good. But by running the nettles through the blender, it was really fantastic.

My recipe (with quantities estimated --- I don't cook with a measuring spoon in my hand).

About 8 cups of nettles, roughly chopped. Mostly leaves, but small stems as well.
Four cloves of garlic, raw. Back this down if you are not a big garlic person, because it was strong with garlic when I finished. I can still taste/feel it.
One meyer lemon.
A third of a cup of a good EV olive oil (or so). More, if you want it richer.
A small handful of pecans -- maybe 15 halves.
Salt and pepper to taste.
A couple of drops of sriracha (because, you know, sriracha makes life better)

Blanch the nettles in boiling water for 10 seconds to take away the stingers. I suppose you could blend them raw, but I blanched mine. Drain and squeeze a bit of the excess water out. Don't over squeeze them --- you'll want some of that moisture or it gets too thick and pasty.

Add the nettles, garlic, pecans, and about half the juice from the lemon into a blender. Slowly drizzle a good olive oil into the blender with it running full. You may need to periodically turn it off and press the nettles down onto the blade with a spoon until it begins to liquify. Add your salt, pepper and sriracha to taste. The salt and lemon make the nettles nettle-y-er. Don't be skimpy. I squeezed a bit of that second half of lemon into the blender and even put a little bit of zest in for good measure. It wasn't too lemony.


You certainly get the nice nettle flavor without any of the fuzzy texture. The lemon brightens it up, and you get that nice raw garlic burn on the back end.

There wasn't much left over, but enough to fill three cubes in an ice cube tray. I'll thaw it out later this week and try it on chicken.

Clean With Cleaners You Can Eat by Raven Ranson
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