With apologies to the Greek language and culture.
It’s nettle season in our local marshes, so we’re eating our fill of these wonderful, free greens.
Our local grocery had some organic phyllo dough on sale the other week, and now that we can eat some gluten again, I was excited to bring a box home. I was too lazy to make baklava, but I had a fresh bag of foraged nettles that needed to be turned into dinner. I figured I’d use them in place of spinach to make some nettle spanakopita, using what I had on hand: Fresh nettles from a local marshy spot, chives and walking onions from our garden, and the cheese I found in our fridge. I didn’t look up a recipe to use as a baseline so I forgot to add any eggs, but we ended up with a delicious dinner that my girls and I both loved. The measurements here are educated guesses – Adjust as you see fit, and feel free to add an egg or two to help bind things together.
If you’ve never harvested or cooked with stinging nettles before, don’t be scared off – It’s not as dangerous as it may sound. I’ve posted my tips for harvesting and using nettles here; do give it a try!
- phyllo / filo dough, one package (you’ll have enough left over for a quick apple strudel)
- nettles, about 2 cups when steamed and pressed dry (about 4 cups steamed before they’re pressed)
- 2 cups cheese, your choice, grated or crumbled – I used a mixture of Tillamook cheddar (my kids’ all-time favorite), mozzarella, and parmesan
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or smashed
- 1 handful chives
- 1 handful green onions
- salt and pepper to taste
- freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- melted butter or olive oil (or a combination) to brush onto phyllo dough
- Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F.
- Steam the nettles for about 5 minutes, until wilted but still bright green. Drain, reserving the liquid to drink as a spring tea (beware, it’s very energizing; don’t drink it at bedtime) or for use as a hair rinse (Crafty Little Gnome has hair tonic directions).
- Press the nettles dry in a fine colander or cheesecloth.
- Chop the nettles into bite-sized pieces.
- Dice the chives and green onions.
- Combine nettles, chives, green onions, grated cheese, and spices in a bowl. Mix well.
- Lay out one sheet of phyllo and brush it with melted butter or oil. Keep the other sheets of dough covered as directed on the box or they’ll dry out before you can use them.
- Add a second sheet of phyllo on top of the first, brush it with the butter/oil, then cut along the long side of the dough to form 4 even strips.
- Place about 2 tablespoons of nettle mixture in the top left corner of the first strip, then fold it to meet the right side of the strip, forming a triangle (if you ignore the rest of the strip, that is).
- Continue folding like this, from side to side, until you’ve worked your way down the strip of dough to form a tidy triangular pocket filled with nettle.
- Brush lightly with more butter/oil and place on the prepared baking sheet.
- When all of the nettle mixture has been wrapped, pop the triangles into the hot oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden.
- Serve immediately or include a cooled nettlekopita in a packed lunch – They’re most flaky when fresh from the oven, but they still taste great at room temperature.
If you’re looking for other nettle recipes, I’ve posted a few of our other favorites:
If you have a favorite nettle recipe, please let me know – We’ve got a few weeks left in the season, and I’d love to try something new.