A spring institution is nettle soup made with the soft tops of young nettles. I went out in red rubber gloves to pick a bowlful of these delicacies from the abundant supply in our garden, brought them in, washed them thoroughly and spun them in a salad spinner to get rid of all the little bugs and dirt that hide in their textured leaves. Picking and washing the nettles is the time consuming bit – the soup is a doddle to make.
Cook a fInely chopped onion gently in butter until softened and add the carefully washed nettle sprigs and stir until wilted. Sprinkle with a dusting of flour (in my case gluten free) and stir in well. Pour on some good stock, preferably chicken or veal, and simmer until the nettles are soft. Blend in blender or use stick blender until smooth and serve with halved boiled egg in the soup – cut sides up. (The eggs should be carefully boiled so the whites are set and the yolks still a little soft – I took my eye off the one in the picture and it is a little overdone but I couldn’t wait for my lunch long enough to boil another one!.)