Stinging Nettle and Farro Fritters

These are a variation of my original fritter relationship, nettle subrich. My article at Culinate has more about cooking with wild stinging nettles.

Using tongs, gloves, or any other nettle-avoidance approach to prevent painful contact with the leaves, drop a couple of handfuls of nettles into a pot of boiling water. Let them blanch for a minute or two, then lift out and let cool (blanching neutralizes the chemicals in the leaves that “sting”). Squeeze out as much liquid as you can, then chop coarsely. You should have a bit more than a cup of cooked nettles.

Combine the cooked nettles with about a cup of cooked farro, a diced shallot, a half cup or so of grated Parmigiano, 2-3 eggs, a healthy pinch of sea salt, and about a half cup of breadcrumbs. I often add a little ricotta to my fritters, but didn’t have any in the refrigerator so included a big spoonful of cottage cheese; either is an option that can be left out.

Mix together and test the cohesive qualities by forming a ball about the size of a walnut. Use enough extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of a heavy skillet, heat it up at medium high, and use a couple of soup spoons to form smallish, walnut-sized fritters.

Slide the fritters into the hot oil, and flatten gently with the back of a fork. Cook for a few minutes until nicely browned, then use a spatula and fork to flip. Remove when browned on both sides.

Cook the rest in smallish batches; don’t crowd the skillet. Sprinkle with flor de sal and serve hot as an appetizer.