Recipe: Nettle polenta

Cooking rids nettle leaves, left, of their sting. Here, nettle polenta with rack of lamb.
(Mark Boster / LAT)

Total time: About 30 minutes

Servings: 6

Note: Stinging nettles are available at many local farmers markets. When handling the nettles, wear latex or exam gloves; rinse them in a sink full of cold water to remove any dirt. Carefully remove the leaves from the stalks.

4 cups washed nettle leaves

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup polenta, or organic coarse-ground corn meal

1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1/4 cup crème fraîche

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and, using a pair of tongs or rubber gloves, add the nettles to the pot. Blanch the nettles for about 1 minute. Drain, coarsely chop and reserve.

2. In a heavy-bottomed medium pot, bring 5 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add the salt and olive oil, then slowly pour in the polenta, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.

3. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the polenta cooks at a low simmer (bubbling slightly). Stir frequently until thick and creamy, about 17 to 20 minutes.

4. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, crème fraîche and nettles, whisking until combined. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

Each serving: 233 calories; 14 grams protein; 5 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 18 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 304 mg. cholesterol; 430 mg. sodium.