Foraging season is nearly over, but I won’t give up. I have a special request from a very innovative restaurant owner – what better opportunity to set up a easy quick winter recipe! I need a finger-food with wild edibles, easy to eat, easy to transport and easy to do. Here it is!
Sting nettle & barberry
They are the easiest to find in late season. I harvested the nettles this summer, I dried them and reduced them in powder with the food processor. This is a precious flour that I keep with love in glass jars. But you can also find it in herbal shops, if needed.
Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) is very common bush in here, most found along meadows or at the edge of the forest. In november you can pick the small and long red berries.
Both nettles and barberry are precious allies for your health, and very tasty too!
Barberry has a delicious a sharp acid flavour, but remember to collect it after the first frost, otherwise it will make your skin crawl, turning your smile in a mask of disgust.
As it was an experiment I made a small quantity, which turned out in 40 morsels of 3 cm (1,2 inches). Obviously half of them already disappeared by the time I wrote this recipe.
Ingredients for the nettle pâte brisée:
- 25 gr butter
- 30 gr all-purpose flour
- 6 full teaspoon of nettle flour
- Cold water as much as suffices (less than half glass)
- A pinch of salt
Ingredients goat cheese mousse:
- 1 fresh goat cheese
- 3-4 spoons whipping cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Few leaves of mountain thyme (not toomuch, it will overwhelm the nettles)
- Barberry berries to decorate
- Optional, just for NOT vegetarians: thin slices of bresaola (we have in here a more aged and spicy kind, called slinzega, similar to beef jerky)
First of all we will make the dough for the brisèe, because it should lay in the fridge at least half an hour, before you can use it.
The real secret for the Pâte Brisèe, like the shortcrust pastry, is to avoid warming it with your hands. Place the cold butter, flour, nettle flour and salt on your worktop and knead it quicly with the tip of your fingers. Don’t worry if it is sandy and crumbling. Add water now and knead until you get a smooth mixture. Try to keep the water to a minimum, because adding too much will make your crust tough.
Wrap the dough in cling film and put it in the fridge. After half an hour take it out and roll the dough in a thin layer. Cut the discs.
Poke holes using a fork and cook them in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 180°C (356°F). Let them cool before you garnish them with the cheese mousse.
Making the mousse is extremely easy: I made it with the immersion blender (whisk). Put the goat-cheese, salt, cream and thyme in the jar and mix until it is firm.
Use the sac à poche to garnish the brisèe discs and add the barberries on top.
For those who have no problem with meat, add a slice of bresaola or birölt séc (a special kind of aged blood sausage).
I was worried about the mousse: will it melt or not? NOT. It stayed firm for hours, even under the light for taking pictures. Even if not needed, just in case you want to be very sure (moving the stuff around for going to a party?), you could add a little bit of edible gelatine or agar agar. I did not use it and i did not regret it for one second.
Other recipes with barberry or nettle