Has anyone cooked with nettle?
I just saw this video and recipe: http://www.pbs.org/food/kitchen-vigne...
I've heard that people cook with nettle, but I have very little knowledge beyond that. What does it taste like? The recipe mentions spinach as a substitute, is that an accurate flavor profile?
Where can I find it?
Never cooked with it but had nettle soup in restaurants on several occasions. It's sort of "spinach light" in flavour - certainly a mild, fresh tasting soup.
As for finding it, it's a weed which grows pretty much everywhere where I am. I gather it's only the top few leaves on each stem which are of use - the ones lower down getting a bit coarse. Foragers gather them in spring, when the shoots are still young and fresh.
I cook with nettles frequently in the summer. I think they taste like an earthier version of spinach with prominent mushroom and bitter notes. Spinach is usually the recommended substitute, but it doesn't quite capture how full-flavored nettles are. In a pasta dough recipe like this, however, spinach is a good substitute.
You can find nettles growing wild like weeds. You'll want to get them before they flower. Otherwise farmer's markets will often have nettles for sale.
I used to collect and cook stinging nettles when I was in college. The closest thing they compare to is spinach, but I hate spinach and like nettles, so there is a difference. At first I wore gloves to pick them, but then I realized that by grabbing the stems directly, the stinging hairs are crushed (also, the skin on your palms and fingertips is too thick for the hairs), so I never got stung. You get stung by lightly brushing the leaves, so wear long sleeves. (Poison ivy will not hurt or itch immediately...it takes several hours to a day or so before the rash appears...if it does.)
If you're going to forage them, nettle patches tend to be in moist, shady spots -- woodland edges.