Nettle Soup with Seaweed Scones

Recipe taken from Clodagh’s Suppers by Clodagh Mckenna (£20, Kyle Books) Photography by Dora Kazmierak.

Nettles grow wild everywhere, so it’s easy to forage for them – just wear rubber gloves! Pick the small leaves at the top as they are the sweetest and fret not – once they are dropped in boiling water they lose their sting.

    Ingredients
  • 50g butter
  • 350g potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 800ml hot vegetable stock
  • 200g young nettle leaves and tender stalks, thoroughly washed
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 100ml double cream
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Clover blossoms, thoroughly washed, to garnish
  • For the seaweed scones:

  • 15g dulse, finely chopped (you could also use other varieties, such as kelp)
  • 225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 50g butter, chilled and cubed
  • 125–150ml buttermilk, plus extra for brushing
  • Vegetable oil, for oiling
    Method
  • Place a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the potatoes and onion, stir well and cover the pan with a lid. Reduce the heat to low and leave the vegetables to sweat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour in the hot stock, increase the heat to high and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes until the potatoes and onion are completely soft.
  • Using gloves, add the nettles (they lose their sting once cooked) and nutmeg, stir and cook for 2–3 minutes until the nettles have wilted. Transfer the soup to a blender or food-processor, or use a hand blender, and blend to a smooth consistency. Return the soup to the saucepan (if necessary) and season. Stir in the cream and place over a medium heat for just 2 minutes to warm through.
  • Meanwhile, make the scones. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan°C 180/Gas 6. Spread the dulse out on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 2 minutes, then remove from the oven.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir the dulse into the mixture, then gradually mix in enough buttermilk with a fork to make a soft dough. Roll out the dough on a floured work surface to a thickness of 1cm. Cut into rounds using a 7.5cm pastry cutter or an upturned glass.
  • Oil the baking tray used for the dulse, place the rounds on the tray and brush with buttermilk. Bake for 12–15 minutes until golden brown. Transfer the scones to a wire rack and leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve the soup in warmed bowls, garnished with clover blossoms, along with the warm seaweed scones.
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