Green garlic is one of my favorite ingredients and it is only available for a short time in the beginning of Spring. I’ve only seen it sold at farmer’s markets and it should be hitting the stalls in the next few weeks. Green garlic looks like a thick green onion and it adds subtle garlic flavor & depth without overpowering. They are fabulous for soups and purées.
Nettles grow abundantly in the forests and along riverbeds. Heck, nettles grow just about everywhere! I’ve even seen them growing out of planters in San Francisco. But there’s a reason they’re called stinging nettles so pick with gloves on and use tongs while cooking. If you can get past the sting, they have a nice spinachy-hay flavor and they are packed with antioxidants. I like to blanch them first to remove the sting but also to preserve as much nutrition as possible.
Here’s an old post on why it’s necessary to be careful! with nettles (OUCHY OUCHERSON!)
The farm egg is poached in extra virgin olive oil. This tasty technique was recently introduced to me by my friend Kat, who also happens to be an extraordinary events planner and in her spare time (ha!) the General Manager of a well known restaurant in SF. She thought it was so delicious that she actually bought me a bottle of really expensive olive oil so I could test out the method for myself. And you know what? It is soooooo good – THANKS KAT!
If you’re a poached egg lover, you gotta try this. Use a good extra virgin olive oil because it ads to the flavor. The eggs poach a little more flat than if dropped in water (see picture?) but the the heavy consistency of olive oil keeps the white tender and shapely. And the flavor – Woweee! – much better than water.
- 1 bunch (4-5 stalks) green garlic, chopped
- 1/2 lb young nettles
- 1 medium leek white & light green part only, chopped
- 1 medium shallot, chopped
- 2 farm eggs or more, for poaching
- 2 slices think cut bacon
- 2 cups extra virgin olive oil for poaching
- 2 thick slices of country bread, brushed with olive oil and grilled
- Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
Handling nettles with tongs or gloves, Blanch them in a large pot of salted boiling water and refresh in ice water to stop the cooking and lock in the chloroform. They will stop stinging after a few seconds in hot water. In a medium sauté pan sweat leeks, green garlic, and shallot with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until tender. Season with salt and cool in pan. In a Vita Prep blend nettles and onions with enough chicken stock to create a purée thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Refrigerate until ready to reheat and serve.
Cook slab bacon very slow in a sauté pan until fat is chewy and caramelized, reserve. Brush country bread with olive oil and grill until nicely crunchy on the outside but still soft on the inside, reserve.
In a very small sauce pot bring two cups of extra virgin olive oil to a low simmer. Poach eggs one by one, gently nudging them off the pan floor if necessary. There is no need to try and flip them. To check for doneness, gently lift the egg with a slotted spoon and press on top lightly. The yolk should be just set enough to touch, but still runny inside.
When ready to serve: reheat soup and ladle into a bowl, place country bread in the middle with slab bacon on top and poached egg over. Garnish with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Note: To make nettle chips lightly dab olive oil on leaves (carefully) and cook in an oven at 250˚F on a baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are crispy.