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Mains, Quick and Easy, Sides, Vegetarian

Nettle polenta

Nettle polenta
Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

The maxim "no pain, no gain" doesn't resound in the kitchen the way that it does in the gym. Except maybe when it comes to stinging nettles, a common weed that looks like mint, cooks up like spinach, has a ... Read more

Total time: About 30 minutes | Serves 6
  • 4 cups washed nettle leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup polenta, or organic coarse-ground corn meal
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Step 1Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and, using a pair of tongs or rubber gloves, add the nettles to the pot. Blanch the nettles for about 1 minute. Drain, coarsely chop and reserve.

Step 2In a heavy-bottomed medium pot, bring 5 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add the salt and olive oil, then slowly pour in the polenta, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.

Step 3Reduce the heat to medium-low so the polenta cooks at a low simmer (bubbling slightly). Stir frequently until thick and creamy, about 17 to 20 minutes.

Step 4Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, creme fraiche and nettles, whisking until combined. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

Note: Stinging nettles are available at many local farmers markets. When handling the nettles, wear latex or exam gloves; rinse them in a sink full of cold water to remove any dirt. Carefully remove the leaves from the stalks.

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