Spring Has Sprung (Get Out Your Umbrella)
The cruelest season here in the northwest taunts with a glimpse of the sun and a brief kiss of what passes for warm weather. Don't be fooled; it'll be rain for many weeks to come. But one harbinger of the changing season has already arrived, and you should be eating it while you can.
Stinging nettles rank with wild mushrooms when it comes to delicious food you can gather in the woods. Read more about them in this article I wrote for Culinate, and either go pick some (take gloves!) or grab them at the farmers market. Occasionally New Seasons Market offers fresh nettles, but call first.
Stinging Nettle with Caramelized Onion & Za'atar
Drop about a half pound of nettles into a quart of boiling water, let cook for a minute or two, then lift out and let cool. Squeeze out as much water as you can (be sure to save the nettle cooking water; it makes a great vegetable stock) and chop coarsely. I eat the stems if they're from young plants, but try one to see how fibrous it is.
Cook a chopped onion in extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until it's nicely browned. This can take awhile, maybe 30 minutes, but adds a lot of flavor. Add the nettles and a couple of cloves of chopped garlic and cook for a few minutes, then stir in a tablespoon or more of tomato paste. Thin with a splash of the nettle broth and cook for another 5 minutes, then add a couple of tablespoons of za'atar. Drizzle with more extra virgin at the table, and add some chili heat if you're so inclined.
Good Deals and the CSA
All of the 2012 harvest Italian extra virgin olive oils are on sale, and these oils will still be very, very tasty for some time to come. The best deal is 5 liters of Madre Terra for $75, at $15 per liter less expensive than the California Everyday.
I'll close this year's olive oil csa in a few weeks, so sign up soon. Here’s the deal. Each csa share costs $100; once the shipment of imported oil arrives from Italy sometime in April or May, you can redeem it for $120 worth of oil or other stuff I sell.
See you Monday,