In keeping with my quest to replace many of my old favourite meals with those that are gluten or wheat-free, I had planned to make a Crustless Stinging Nettle Spanakopita tonight, similar to my original recipe . With no feta in the frig, that thought went out the door and the idea of a crustless quiche seemed like a better one.
The only time-consuming task for this dish was to strip the nettle leaves from their stems, as I had picked a large paper bag full. I only needed a couple of cups for this quiche, so the rest went into the dehydrator for nettle tea.
If foraging for nettles is new to you, here are a few tips.
1. Find a spot that is undisturbed so you can be sure your nettles are clean.
2. WEAR GLOVES. Rubber gloves work well. Wear long pants and cover your ankles too.
3. Pick the top portion of the plant. I use garden clippers and cut lengths about 12 inches long, usually with about 5 sets of leaves. Be sure to pick them before they flower.
4. A large brown paper bag or a reuseable grocery bag works well for collecting as they stay open and you can just drop the stems in.
5. Remove the leaves from the stems, as they are too tough to eat.
5. Rinse and soak the leaves in a large bowl for about 10-15 minutes. Soaking will remove most of the sting, but not all. If you are going to cook them, you have nothing to worry about, as cooking will completely destroy the sting.
The verdict? He had a second piece, so that’s a good sign in my books. I reveled in the facts that (a) we were eating a superfood packed with all things wonderfully nutritious and (b) it was free, and (c) it was harvested from a little spot beside the creek on our own property, so I knew it was clean and untouched.
This recipe can be easily (and I mean REALLY easily) adapted to suit your tastes and whatever you happen to have lounging in your pantry or frig.
Stinging Nettle Crustless Quiche
Serves 4 – 6
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped asparagus or other vegetables such as red pepper, mushrooms, etc. (I used asparagus as I had some on hand and it just seemed like . . . well, a spring thing to do.)
- 2 cups nettle leaves that have been soaked for 10 minutes, drained and well-squeezed (WEARING RUBBER GLOVES)
- 1 can of smoked tuna (or about 6 oz. of smoked salmon)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups of milk or cream (or a combination, or almond milk)
- 1/2 tsp. dried dill or 1 tsp. fresh
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard (or dry mustard, or a little hot sauce)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup shredded cheese (any kind you like. You could make it Plan-friendly by using Manchego or other sheep’s cheese if dairy isn’t an option for you.)
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Saute onions in a little grapeseed oil. When they begin to soften, add the chopped vegetables and continue to cook until softened.
3. Meanwhile, crumble the tuna or salmon in 9 inch deep dish pie plate. Cover with vegetables when done, then with the nettles and then sprinkle with the cheese.
4. Also meanwhile, blend eggs, milk, dill,mustard, salt and pepper either in your blender or with a whisk.
5. Pour the egg mixture over the rest of the ingredients.
6. Bake for 35-50 minutes, checking after 30 minutes. If it is browning too quickly, cover with foil. The middle may not be quite set, but it will continue to cook when you take it out of the oven. Let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing into wedges and serving with a green salad.