There is plenty of foraging to be done in France with an abundance of fine foods free for the picking in the countryside from truffles to giroles but what about the humble nettle?
This simple recipe is simple and delicious and full of vitamins and minerals and gives you an excuse for not weeding!
Go out at this time of the year while the nettles are young, it is best to go foraging in the morning to pick fresh nettle tops, just the first few leaves of the new shoot are the most tender. You may want to use gloves if you are sensitive to nettle stings.
To start the soup saute a finely chopped medium sized onion in a little olive oil and a small nob of butter (optional), add a little fresh or dried sage and if you are a garlic fan you can add a couple of cloves too (optional).
Then add two medium potatoes that have been chopped into 1-1.5cm cubes – remove any damaged skin from the spuds but keep the skin on for more vitamins if it is clean and blemish free. Saute for a few minutes along with the onions.
Add a litre of vegetable stock, season and bring to the boil. Add the nettles – they are difficult to weigh but a litre jug loosely filled is about right, take off any tough stalky bits and chop roughly before adding (again, you may need gloves).
Simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Next you need to blitz it with a hand blender or liquidiser. If you like a creamy soup you can add a little cream, milk or yogurt before blitzing but I prefer it without. Check your seasoning and serve with fresh multigrain bread for a nutritious and vitamin packed lunch! it is yummy!