A few days ago, my garden all of a sudden was shining in lush purple. The plants were quickly identified as red dead-nettles (lamium purpureum). Great! However, the lawnmower packed up, just when I tried to get rid of the weeds and I do not own a goat. Fortunately the plant turned out to be fully edible for humans too. Mission accomplished!
A closer look also brought to light some white dead-nettles (lamium album), or maybe even a crossing between the red lamium purpureum and the white lamium album, as in my garden the latter's' leaves feature the distinctive red coloring of the former instead of their regular plain green. Since all dead-nettles are edible, I did not care to fret. But, parental advisory: Be positive about the species before you eat an unknown plant!
The plant is also healthy. Apart from tannins and mucilage it contains minerals like potassium and magnesium, choline, saponins, flavonoids, and essential oils, as well as iridoids and terpenes in the flowers. It is also rich in protein and vitamin A.
Short of a recipe, I just started cooking with what I had at hand.
Ingredients (serves two)
- 400 g young dead-nessel shoots and flowers
- a handful of dandelion flowers
- 250 g organic potatoes
- 1 organic onion
- 1 tbsp organic olive oil
- 1 organic egg
- 170 ml organic milk
- 80 g organic wheat flour type 405
- 1 tsp organic olive oil
- 2 organic eggs
- organic pepper
- organic nutmeg
- Cook the potatoes with skin, peal them when cooled, and cut them in cubes of 1-2 cm size.
- Mix the milk, the flower and one egg with a pinch of salt into a pancake batter and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
- In the meantime wash the dead-nettles, dry it in a salad spinner and chop coarsely. Put 50 g of the dead-nettles aside for mixing into the pancake batter later.
- Fry the potato cubes in a tablespoon of olive oil until they are tender and crispy.
- Cut the onion in cubes, add them to the potatoes and sauté lightly.
- Add the nettles and cook them at low heat in a closed pot until wilted. Season with salt, pepper and freshly ground nutmeg.
- Add the other nettles to the pancake batter, stir, and cook two pancakes in a little olive oil.
- Fry two eggs sunny-side up or better poach them if you have really fresh eggs at hand.
- Fill the pancakes with the wilted nettles and four to five dandelion flowers each, and serve with the remainders of the nettles and the eggs.
You can, of course, make do without the dandelion flowers but you will miss the extra crunch and a subtle fresh note.
By the way, the pancakes with dead-nettles are also good without filling and side dishes.
Approximate nutritional information (per serving)
- Calories: 705 kcal
- Total fat: 23.0 g
- saturated fat: 6.3 g
- Total carbohydrate: 61.0 g
- total sugars: 16.6 g
- Protein: 52.4 g
- Salt: 2 g
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