Make a nettle soup recipe worthy of a Nobel banquet
With her newly launched no-dig garden Huvudsta Trädgård, food consultant Elin Aronsen Beis has made a name for herself as an expert in waste reduction. Join her as she celebrates this spring's nettle harvest inspired by the soup that was served at the 1991 Nobel Banquet.
The search for a tasty nettle soup recipe reveals a surprisingly rich history. First eaten during the Bronze Age, it's been enjoyed as a nutritious, energy-rich staple everywhere from Eastern Europe to North America. Generally considered a modest dish, nettle soup was never so elevated as it was on 10 December 1991, when it was served at the Nobel Banquet in Stockholm City Hall's opulent Blue Hall.
As a food consultant with years of experience advising restaurants, Beis has made waves in Scandinavian culinary circles with her zero-waste mantra. It's something she's put into practice with Huvudsta Trädgård, her no-dig (also known as no-till) garden that uses discarded plant material to grow high-quality organic produce.
Nettles are among the first crops to pop up every spring, and here she shares her own favorite recipe for this spring delicacy.
"Nettles are often overlooked in cooking, but here we use them as a main ingredient in this amazing soup," she says. "The soup is mainly cooked in the Nordic countries and parts of Eastern Europe and is often served with boiled egg halves."
The intensly green leaves of early nettles are packed with nutrition and delicate flavour, and a celebration to a new season beginning.
"Nettle soup with quail eggs was served as a starter at the Nobel Dinner," she explains. "Our recipe gets its round flavour from almond flour, crème fraîche, and quail eggs, and a little extra crunch from parmesan biscuits."
Follow the recipe below to make the delicious soup that showcases how to turn a humble weed into a Nobel-worthy delicacy. It's the perfect way to use one of the season's most robust crops.
Smaklig Måltid! (Enjoy your meal!)
Elin Aronsen Beis's Nettle Soup
SERVING SIZE: 2 people
- 2 l rinsed nettles
- 3 shallots
- 1 pot of chives, approx. 1 dl
- 3 tbsp almond flour
- 1 l vegetable broth
- 2 dl crème fraiche
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- Butter for frying
- 50g parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 4 quail eggs
- 2 tbsp peppery olive oil
- Clean, rinse and parboil the nettles in water for about 7 minutes.
- Strain the water and squeeze water from the nettles.
- Roughly chop them.
- Peel and finely chop the shallots.
- Fry it soft in butter in a large saucepan.
- Cut down 3/4 parts of the chives, saving the rest for garnish.
- Add the flour and the nettles, broth, and crème fraiche.
- Let simmer approximately 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Mix the soup frothy just before serving with a handheld or normal blender.
- Grate the cheese finely and place on a baking tray with baking paper.
- Bake in 200 degrees C 5-10 minutes until the cheese has melted and coloured without getting burned.
- Break into smaller biscuits.
- Quail eggs should be boiled for 2-3 minutes.
- After boiling them, put them in two parts cold water and some vinegar spirit, pick them up after five minutes and pull off the shell.
- Place two egg halves at the bottom of each soup plate.
- Pour the soup around the eggs carefully, drizzle over some olive oil, garnish with chives, and parmesan crisp.