Stinging Nettle & Feta Phyllo Nests

Ohhhh, I am really loving all of these Spring greens making their way into my kitchen!  Stinging nettle greens are back (you can read about my first experience with the scary beasts), and I wanted to try them in a little lemony pastry bite.  As I couldn’t spend the whole afternoon in the kitchen, I went with frozen phyllo pastry.  The lemon flavour (without the sogginess of lemon juice) comes from the sumac.

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If you have a fear of phyllo, do not fret!  To my friends who tear the paper-thin sheets, this recipe is for you, as you get to tear the sheets on purpose!  Seriously, I tore each sheet into a little square (about 2×2″) and crammed it into the mini-tart pan.  I bet a muffin pan would work equally well here — just make sure that for whichever you use, you give it a really good greasing or spray with cooking spray.

And really, they’re not supposed to be perfect.  Let’s call them Rustic.

Stinging Nettle & Feta Phyllo Nests

Inspired by Borek with Stinging Nettles, Makes 24 little nests

  • 1/2 package of frozen phyllo, defrosted overnight in the fridge
  • 3 oz. stinging nettle greens
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 c. feta cheese (I keep light feta on hand), diced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp. sumac

A Quick Warning — When you’re working with stinging nettle greens, you want to be sure to wear heavy gloves, or use tongs to avoid touching the stinging leaves until you’ve neutralized the sting (by heating or soaking in a vinegar/water solution).  In this recipe, we do that by blanching them.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Pastry Shells:

Prepare mini tart tins (or muffin tins) by spraying them very well with cooking spray, or greasing.  Take 4-5 sheets of phyllo, and tear them into small (2″) squares that you can fit into the tins.  Cram them in there, with odd bits sticking out at the edges.  This is the rustic part.  Spray the phyllo with cooking spray (or brush with oil or melted butter) in order to get lovely browned edges.

Filling:

Start by blanching the nettle greens, to remove their sting.  Plunge them (using tongs) into a pot of rapidly boiling water for 45-90 seconds.  Remove from the pot and rinse under cold water in a colander.  Drain and chop into smaller pieces.

In a large pan over medium-low heat, sweat the onions in olive oil until translucent.  Add the chopped nettle greens, and sautee until warmed through and still bright green, about one minute.

In a separate bowl, combine feta, egg, and sumac.  Add the cooked onions & greens, and mix well.

Add the filling in heaping tablespoonfuls to the prepared pastry shells.

Bake at 375F for 25 minutes, or until the edges are lovely golden brown.  Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack so they don’t go soggy.  Serve while warm, and enjoy!

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Categories: Side Dish, Snack, Vegetarian

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6 Comments on “Stinging Nettle & Feta Phyllo Nests”

  1. June 4, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    I’ve never used stinging nettle, thank you for the warning about wearing gloves! This looks delicious.

  2. June 5, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    A neat & grand idea for the baskets!! The whole dish looks so tasty, very flavourful & tasty!

  3. June 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    I’ve been struggling with what to do for my birthday dinner tonight, and this recipe was just enough inspiration…think I just might do some phyllo shells filled with carmelized onions, goat cheese, topped with a little truffle salt for an appetizer.

    Thanks for the inspiration, these look wonderful!

    • June 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

      So glad I could help!

      How did it turn out?

      • June 8, 2010 at 4:47 pm #

        Ugh, not nearly so well as I’d hoped. Got home to discover that I didn’t, in fact, have a muffin tin…so I got macguyver on it with tasty but…messy results.

        Still, nothing a balsamic reduction and some truffle salt can’t fix!

  4. June 8, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    How do you not have muffin tins? That is just ridiculous… sounds like your macgyvering yielded deliciousness… mine weren’t exactly pretty either.

    Mmmmm, truffle salt. Sounds like a perfect birthday!

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