About a week ago, on a lovely evening when we were working in the garden, an elderly gentleman stopped to chat. He complimented us on the neatness of our vegetable beds and then pointed north and said: ‘And whose garden is that mess over there?’
Well, that would be us as well. We just haven’t gotten around to doing much there except planting the trees. It’s mostly weeds with the occasional rhubarb or lovage plant left behind by the previous tenants poking through.
But that does not mean it’s not productive in its own way: there’s a particularly lush patch of nettles on a former composting site under the hazel tree. And since there are not many vegetables to harvest from our neat beds yet, I am thankful for this abundance. Plus I really do like the irony taste of nettles and appreciate their superior nutritional value.
An omelette is about the speediest dinner you can make and if you add a sprinkling of parmesan and lots of wilted nettles you’ve got a complete, balanced and delicious meal. Just the thing to cook after a day spent gardening!
We usually have 3 eggs per person but you may not be as greedy, in which case 2 might be enough. As for the nettles: I do not measure nor weigh them, so the best I can do as far as measurements are concerned is ‘a colander full of nettles’ – if you pick less, you’ll have less filling which might be a good idea if this is you first time eating nettles and you are getting used to their taste. Otherwise, exact quantities are not crucial.
Filling (enough for about 4 omelettes):
Nettle tops, a large colander filled to the brim
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, halved and cut in rings
Salt and pepper
Omelette per person:
Olive oil or butter for frying
2 -3 eggs
Salt and pepper
finely grated parmesan cheese
Roughly chop the nettles ( unless the tops are very small). Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and let cook till it becomes translucent. Add the nettle tops, stir and cover with a lid. Cook until the nettles are wilted, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
To make the omelette:
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Heat the oil or butter in a frying pan – it should be quite hot but the butter should not brown yet. Pour in the eggs and as the omelette begins to cook, use a spatula to draw the eggs from the side to the middle and allow the uncooked eggs to run beneath. Repeat this about 3 – 4 times. Sprinkle the parmesan on top and let the omelette cook till just set but still soft. Put a generous helping of the nettles on one half of the omelette and fold it over. Let the omelette slide on a plate.