Nettle Temptation

In May, when we gathered some goutweed, we also picked up a lot of nettles (Urtica dioica). Usually, we make pancakes or a sauce from nettles, but this time we wanted to do something different. A non-vegan version of this recipe by Vivi-Ann Sjögren was in the monthly Kuukausiliite supplement of the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

Why call it a temptation, you might ask. There’s a Swedish (non-vegetarian) dish called Janssons frestelse, which is a bit similar to this dish, and the name translates as Jansson’s Temptation.

  • 7 potatoes, chopped into sticks
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 liters of fresh nettles (or more)
  • 3 tablespoons capers (or more)
  • 2 dl oat cream
  • dry bread crumbs
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • margarine

First, we chopped potatoes into sticks, and sliced the onions. We fried the onion over medium heat until translucent, and removed it from heat. Then we boiled the nettles in lightly salted water for a couple of minutes, and drained them. Now, we crushed the garlic, chopped the nettles, and fried them lightly on medium heat.

Next, we oiled a 28 x 19 cm baking pan, and started adding layers of potatoes, onions, nettles, and capers, in this order. After each full round we added salt, pepper and bread crumbs. We finished with an extra layer of potatoes, poured in the cream evenly, sprinkled the bread crumbs, and added a few dollops of margarine.

The temptation was baked in 200 degrees Celsius until the potatoes were cooked. In our oven this took 55 minutes. If the potatoes start to burn but are not yet cooked, cover the pan with aluminum foil.

We ate the temptation together with some pan-fried tofu.

Note: When gathering nettles, try to pick up only smallish ones – they shouldn’t be more than 20 cm high. The stalks and leaves of the younger nettles are still soft, and better for cooking.