One of the earliest spring greens to emerge are stinging nettles. Nettles provides a mild leafy ingredient much like spinach. They also make a wonderful tea dense in nutrients.
Though abundant in the Northwest, they are prevalent in many parts of the country. Look for them in wet marshy areas and along creek banks. Be sure to wear gloves in the picking and preparation process. Once exposed to heat and steam, they do lose their sting - really!
We like to make Pesto from nettle leaves; a lovely light topping for salmon, white fish, and nearly any noodle. Consider "beefing up" the pesto for red meat selections by substituting some of the nettle measurement with parsley, cilantro, and or oregano. Maybe a bit more garlic as well.
FOOD & WINE PAIRINGS:
Lady Hill Pinot Blanc and Oregon Ling Cod
Lady Hill Cuvée Elfrieda Zorn and grilled, aged Rib-eye
8400 Champoeg Rd NE
St. Paul, OR 97137
Columban Hall Tasting Room open Sunday through Thursday, 11 - 5 pm, Friday and Saturday 11-7 pm.