The Spring months of April and May bring with them a number of exciting ingredients to play with in our kitchens. One that often gets forgotten, and is readily available, the humble nettle.
Easily foraged, and high in iron, calcium, vitamin C and a plethora of other nutrients, nettles have been used for hundreds of years as a remedy for muscle and joint pain, eczema, arthritis, gout and anaemia. Health perks aside, nettles are a gift to anyone who favours cooking with local, seasonal and fresh ingredients.
We are very lucky at A Rule of Tum to have Farmer Tom Jones at our doorstep who supplies us with his selection of aged meats. His beef and lamb are simply next level.
This month it only seemed fitting to create a recipe that pays tribute to a few of my favourite ingredients at this time of year... nettles, the jersey royal, and Farmer Tom’s delicious aged beef.
TIPS FOR PICKING…
• Pick when the plant is young. Older plants can be bitter and fibrous. Make sure they haven’t flowered yet.
• Cut the top 4-6 inches of the plant to allow regrowth so that you're able to harvest again.
• Wear proper gloves and clothing to avoid getting stung!
• The leaves of nettle plants help to keep fruit fresh and ripe, stiffening and stopping mould from forming.
• Their high nitrogen content can be used to compost, fuelling the bacteria to help break down materials more effectively and efficiently.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED...
• 600g Flat Iron or Bavette (Aged at least 30 days)
• Dash Oil
• 50g Butter
• 4 Large Field Mushrooms
• 125g Butter
• ½ Bulb Minced Garlic
• 25g Finely Chopped Parsley
• Good Pinch Sea Salt
• 150g land Cress
• 100g Wild Nettles
• 100g Watercress (plus extra to garnish)
• 2 Bunches Mint
• 1 Bunch Tarragon
• 3 Cloves Garlic
• 3 Fillets of Anchovies
• 50g Capers
• 75ml Olive Oil (plus a little extra for dressing)
• 75ml Rapeseed Oil
• 5-10g Salt
• 50ml Sherry Vinegar
• 500g Jersey Royals
• 20g Salt
• 100ml Rapeseed Oil
• 50g Oak Chips
The beef should be well aged, but if you want to intensify its flavour, place it in the fridge on grease proof paper and leave it to age a further few days.
First prepare the smoked oil. Get a large sealed container ready that will fit the vessel holding the oil and the hot pan of smoking chips. In a heavy based pan, place the oak chips and cover with foil. Put on a high flame until smoking and leave until all chips have blackened. Place this and the oil into the sealed container, lifting the foil cover from the pan so that the smoke escapes more readily. Leave as long as possible.
Next make the garlic butter. Place parsley, garlic and seasoning into a food processor. Once combined, add the diced butter until smooth. Peel the outer skin off the mushrooms and generously smear the mushrooms with garlic butter. Place on a baking tray with a little water in the bottom and sprinkle with sea salt. Cover with foil and bake at 160c for 30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
To make the green sauce, place all ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth but with a slightly course consistency. Set aside.
Place potatoes into a pan with salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until soft. Drain water and allow to cool slightly in a bowl. Drizzle smoked oil and crush into the potatoes. Keep warm to serve.
Season the beef generously with salt and pepper. Place in a searing hot pan with oil for about 2 minutes per side. Add butter to the pan and coat the beef for a further minute with the melted butter. Remove the beef from the pan and rest on a rack for 5 minutes
To serve, warm the mushrooms, dress the land cress in a little olive oil and carve the beef. Dress the mushrooms and beef with the green nettle sauce and serve with smoked potatoes.