This dish may sound adventuresome, but nettles are quite mild in flavor. Wear gloves when handling fresh nettles; blanching the leaves will blunt their sting.
1-2 cups of leaves from the tender tips of nettles (washed and loosely packed)
1 tbsp salted butter
1 tsp minced shallots
1 tsp crème fraîche
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white vinegar
1 slice of toasted white or wheat bread
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
(1) Bring about 6 cups of water to a boil in a deep pot. Wearing gloves, add the nettles and blanch for 1 minute. Drain nettles thoroughly, then coarsely chop and set aside.
(2) In a medium sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Sweat the shallots in the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add chopped nettles and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat to low, then stir in the crème fraîche. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and turn off the heat.
(3) Bring an inch of water to a boil in a deep, small skillet. Add the 1 tsp salt and the vinegar, then lower heat so water is barely bubbling. Break the egg into a cup or shallow bowl, then gently slip egg into water. Cover the skillet. Cook 3-4 minutes or until the egg white is set and a thin film has formed over the yolk. Remove with a slotted spoon.
(4) Place the nettle mixture onto toasted bread, and then place the poached egg on top. Season with freshly ground pepper. Serves 1.