Nettle Fireweed Shoot Spanakopita with Spruce Tip Infused Butter

by Leigh Joseph

Not 100% local ingredients but too good to be missed.

Ingredients

8 cups fresh raw stinging nettle
2 cups chopped fireweed shoots
1 diced medium onion
3 cloves crushed garlic
40 sheets phyllo pastry
2 cups crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup olive oil
1tsp salt
Pepper to taste
½ cup melted butter
2tbsp finely chopped spruce tip

Preparation

  1. Sautee onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent then add washed nettle leaves and tops (stem is likely too tough) and fireweed until soft.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool then add feta cheese and coarsely chop filling.
  4. Melt butter and add finely chopped spruce tips.
  5. Place one sheet of phyllo on counter and brush with spruce tip butter then add a second sheet on top.Slice phyllo into 4 strips.
  6. Spoon filling onto phyllo strip and fold into a triangle and repeat until phyllo strip is all folded up and you have a triangular spanakopita.

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350, let cool and enjoy.

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Nettles are best for eating early in the season when they are under 1 foot in height and still tender. Do not pick after they flower as they plant develops crystals that can irritate the digestive system.

Fireweed shoots should also be picked when under 1 food in height and still very tender and pliable. The new shoots usually have a red tinge to the stalk and leaves. They should be similar to asparagus in their tenderness.

Remember to harvest away from roads, power lines, dog parks etc. And be sure to pick selectively so as not to overharvest in a particular area.