Stinging Nettle Salsa Verde with ‘Good Eggs’

Things are looking sunny side-up in Brooklyn. First a month of rain, then a scorching week of heat, now it’s clear and mid-seventies, and the first ears of sweet corn from local farms have arrived. All of which inspired this rather hearty breakfast (and, of course, the inspiration of huevos rancheros). But the secret ingredient of stinging nettles in the sauce, and the incredible eggs, were sourced from a grocery delivery startup new to NYC called Good Eggs. Read on for the recipe and an early-bird discount to try it out.

I’ve found myself an early adopter to Good Eggs in Brooklyn, which began distribution of their locally-sourced groceries in Park Slope, Gowanus, Sunset Park, Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick this week. You can also pick up the items you order from a couple locations in Brooklyn instead of having them delivered to your door. What I like most about it is the variety of lovely ingredients — like fairytale eggplant, or diver scallops — that are sure to be available, as displayed across the screen. I’ll always love my farmers markets and CSA, but I can’t be certain they’ll have just what I’m looking for on a given day.

If you’d like to try out Good Eggs as an early adopter, too, get $10 off your first order. Just fill out the code “noteatingout” at checkout. And cook to your heart’s desire.

stinging nettles

Here’s what I made with my first order, albeit a kind of strange one for summer: I tried to pick out the most unusual type of produce as the inspiration for my meal, and to me that was nettles from Blooming Hill Farm. (Also, Blooming Hill Farm doesn’t distribute at any farmers markets or CSAs in New York City, but I’ve been to the place and their produce is amazing.) Then I picked out some navy beans from Cayuga Organics, thinking a summery bean salad with my corn. I couldn’t resist getting a dozen eggs from Fishkill Farms, whose pasture-raised chicken practically bleed into their eggs, they’re so reddish-orange. So, dry beans, eggs, and a gnarly bunch of wild, stinging greens. Why do I tend to shop like a pauper so often?

a smattering of windowsill and fire escape-grown herbs

I rounded out these ingredients with some sweet corn from my CSA, onion, and some of my fire-escape sungold tomatoes and herbs. The toughest part was taming those nettles into a chunky green sauce, or salsa verde, as I’ll call it. But it turned out delicious. The trick is to bring a large pot of water to boil and submerge all your nettles in them immediately to blanch. Afterward, the stinging venom in the plant (which my hands have never suffered from, thanks to this) has been washed away, and you can separate and chop the leaves.

Finely chop them, that is, or break out a food processor to do the work. Add a bit of minced garlic, onion, capers, herbs and olive oil, and season the sauce to taste. It’s tasty and so dense with good, green nutrition it’s like eating five spinach salads.

the pureed nettles with olive oil, capers, garlic and onion

So good that I went a little crazy plating it with my bean, corn and tomato salad and sunny side-up fried eggs. So that was my Good Eggs breakfast, a first but certainly not the last to come this summer. I’m actually looking forward to ordering from Good Eggs when it’s frigid or rainy outside come this winter. FYI: I was not compensated by Good Eggs for this post, although I did get $10 off my first order, like you can right now, too. If you’re not in New York City or the Bay Area (where Good Eggs started), reach out to demand the service in your city–that’s the goal. However, if you find yourself with stinging nettles for whatever reason anywhere, here’s how you can make a cool, herbal sauce perfect for summer with them.

Stinging Nettle Salsa Verde with White Bean Summer Salad and Fried Eggs
(makes 3-4 servings)

for the salsa verde:
1 bunch stinging nettles, about 2 cups packed leaves after blanching
1 shallot or 1/2 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon capers
handful of assorted fresh herbs such as mint, parsley, basil (optional)
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
water to thin the sauce
salt and pepper to taste

for the bean salad:
2 cups cooked white beans such as cannellini or navy, drained and cooled
2 ears corn
12 or so sungold or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon shallot, spring onion or scallion, chopped
juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste 

4 large eggs
2 tablespoons oil or butter, for frying

Bring a large pot of salted water deep enough to submerge the bunch of nettles to a boil. Using tongs or gloves, submerge the nettles and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Transfer the nettles using tongs to the ice water and once cool, drain and squeeze out.

Finely chop the nettles, herbs, capers, garlic and onion and place in a large bowl (alternately, pulse this in a food processor). Add the oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add water to thin it out to desired consistency. (Can be made in advance and chilled overnight.)

Shuck the corn and boil them just until tender, about 3 minutes. Let cool. Chop off the kernels and combine the kernels with the chopped tomatoes, onion, lemon juice, olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. (Can be made in advance and chilled overnight.)

Heat a fry pan over medium-high and add the butter or oil. Spread it around the bottom of the pan. Once it begins to bubble or sizzle, crack the eggs into the pan and let sit until the whites are just set but the yolk is still runny. Season the top with salt and pepper.

Plate the bean salad with the fried eggs on top for each plate. Drizzle with the salsa verde and enjoy.

Cost Calculator:
(for 4 servings)

1 bunch stinging nettles (from Good Eggs/Blooming Hill Farm): $3.00
2 cups cooked white beans (at $4.50/lb): $2.00
4 eggs (at $7/dozen): $2.33
2 ears corn (from CSA): $1.00
1 spring onion (from CSA): $0.50
handful herbs (homegrown): $0.25
handful sungold tomatoes (homegrown): $0.25
teaspoon capers: $0.50
1/2 lemon: $0.20
1 clove garlic, salt, pepper, 4-5 tablespoons olive oil: $0.50

Total: $10.73

Health Factor

Four brownie points: Even though it looks and tastes incredibly rich thanks to that runny, rich egg, the detoxifying intensity of the stinging nettle sauce and the heart-healthiness of the filling beans counteract. You are really getting your day’s worth of vitamins and minerals with all those nettles, like Vitamin A, K, C and iron and calcium. The egg and beans provide plenty of protein, and are a classic combo for the meat-scarce (or slightly averse).

Green Factor

Nine brownie points: It’s too easy to eat local right now, with CSAs and farmers markets flourishing and startups like Good Eggs filling in the gaps. All the ingredients used here are, and from farms that are dependable for their responsible growing practices–except for the lemon, olive oil, and salt and pepper. 

2 Responses

  1. Dubsee

    Stinging Nettles really hurt sometimes! The guy with this blog actually stuck his arm in some for demonstration.

    I have eaten them before but I had no idea they were ever for sale anywhere. Pureed nettles with garlic, i want that dish you made! What a nice article, Thanks

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