Nettles Pâté Recipe
Nettles pâté is pesto’s voluptuous cousin, thicker and earthier by nature. Smother it on pasta, bake it into lasagna, or spread it on pizza or focaccia. Serve as a dip with crudites or crackers. You can enjoy this dish year-round by following the directions below for dried nettles. If you avoid dairy, substitute extra olives for the feta and Parmesan cheese. Or, use a coconut or nut-based cheese alternative, tasting for saltiness as needed.
You’ll find this Nettles Paté recipe in the book, along with a full profile on the cultivation & harvesting of nettles, and the medicinal uses of the herb.
- 15 to 20 (60 grams) small to medium sun-dried tomatoes (about 1/2 cup)
- 4 quarts (225 grams) loosely packed fresh nettles, or substitute 2 ½ cups dried nettles (55 grams)
- 1 cup (105 grams) walnut halves
- 10 medium (100 grams) shiitake mushroom caps, chopped
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little more for sautéing the mushrooms
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 cup (70 grams) whole pitted Kalamata olives
- 1/2 cup (115 grams) feta cheese
- 1∕3 cup (70 grams) grated Parmesan cheese
Yield: 4 cups with fresh nettles; 4 ½ cups with dried nettles
1. Pour just enough hot water over the sun-dried tomatoes to cover, and let sit for 3 hours. If you don’t have the time to presoak, soaking them in hot water while you prepare the other ingredients is sufficient. You can also substitute jarred sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil. Strain the soaked tomatoes after hydrating.
2. Prep your nettles:
IF USING DRIED NETTLES: Bring 1 ⅔ cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Turn off the heat, add the dried nettles, and stir every 5 minutes as the nettles rehydrate. Set aside (you won’t be straining the rehydrated nettles).
IF USING FRESH NETTLES: Strip the nettle leaves from the fibrous stem using leather garden gloves. Wash the leaves thoroughly (it may require several washings). Steam until the nettles are tender yet still vibrantly green. Let the nettles cool with the lid off.
3. Toast the walnut halves in a dry, preheated skillet over medium heat, stirring continuously, until their aroma permeates the kitchen and they are slightly browned, about 1 to 2 minutes. Do not leave unattended, as they can quickly burn. Place the toasted walnuts on a plate to cool. In a small skillet, sauté the mushrooms in a little extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes.
4. When the nettles and mushrooms are cool enough to handle, combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until the p.t. reaches an even consistency. Add more olive oil and salt, if necessary. Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze in small portions.
If you’re like me, and you adore salty, savory, herbal dips, this recipe will promptly become a classic in your home. I make batches all throughout nettles season and freeze the extras for use during the winter months when mineral-rich foods from the garden are scarce. Everyone gets excited when they see these green jars defrosting on the counter!