Thursday, March 14, 2013

Winter Market, Friday the 15th, and Wild Herb Ravioli, by Melinda

Lamium purpureum (Deadnettle)
Our Winter Market on Friday the 15th of March will feature kale and freshly dug carrots--what a treat!

And here's a recipe for a green ravioli just in time for St. Patrick's Day! This recipe is adapted from one by Tama Matsuoka Wong, whom I mentioned in the previous post  and who forages wild herbs for upscale restaurants in the New York City area.  Her recipe calls for chickweed,  deadnettle, and onion grass (aka "wild garlic"). It's called "dead" nettle to distinguish it from stinging nettle--deadnettle has no sting to it and is quite mild in flavor. It's in the mint family, so it has a square stem (which you can feel), though it doesn't taste as "minty" as spearmint or peppermint.
Deadnettle's exotic, tiny flowers

The University of Delaware Extension blog (photo above left) treats it as a weed to be eradicated, but it's actually highly desirable as an edible wild plant, called Lamium purpureum in Latin.  In fact, right now, it looks like it does (in the above left photo) in our neighborhood. It's important not only as an edible green, however, but also as a very early source of nectar for honeybees and the wild bees or bee-like insects (e.g., carpenter bees, hoverflies, etc.) that later in the season will pollinate our domesticated crops.

However, if you don't want to use wild greens in this recipe, you can substitute spinach with the stems removed. You also could substitute some of the kale we'll get at Winter Market The recipe is very quick and easy to make, as you use pre-made eggroll wrappers, about 8- inches square, which you can buy at the supermarket.

Wild-Herb Ravioli
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 & 1/2 oz chopped chickweed (~2 cups); if desired, you can substitute spinach with the stems removed, or kale with stems removed and chopped
  • 1 oz. deadnettle tops, including flowers, chopped (~ 1 & 1/2 cups), or spinach or kale (stems removed & chopped)
  • 1 oz onion grass (aka wild garlic), or substitute chives, cut into 1/2-in. to 1-in. lengths (3/4 cup), and more for garnish
  • salt & fresh-ground pepper
  • 2 oz. ricotta cheese (1/4 cup)
  • 2 oz. freshly grated Parmesan [or Pecorino], plus more for sprinkling
  • 18 eggroll wrappers, ~8-in. square
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Melt 1 tbsp butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add chickweed, deadnettle, & wild garlic (onion grass) greens [or substitute greens] & cook till bright green & softened, about 2 min (a bit longer for substitute greens). Transfer to food processor & pulse till finely chopped. Season w/ a pinch each of salt & pepper. Transfer to a medium bowl & fold in ricotta & parmesan w/ rubber spatula or large spoon. Let cool.

Place 9 eggroll wrappers on work surface. On each wrapper, mound 4 separate teaspoonfuls of filling in a grid 2-in. from the edges. Dip a finger in water & trace a circle around each mound of filling. Place remaining 9 eggroll wrappers atop the filled ones and press to seal around each mound of filling. Cut out 36 ravioli with a 2-inch ring cutter. Make sure edges are pressed together well.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil; add oil. Cook ravioli until al dente, 5 to 8 min. Drain well.
Serve topped w/ remaining 2 tbsp melted butter & a sprinkling of chopped onion grass (wild garlic).

This recipe by Tama Matsuoka Wong is featured in the March 2013 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine.


  1. It makes TOTAL sense that you can eat deadnettle (though we have always called it Creeping Charlie), since it's in the mint family. Why did it never occur to me?? Between that and young dandelion greens, we have TONS of produce right in the back yard! I'll report back if we actually make the ravioli (though other than operator error, how could they not be yummy?).

  2. Hi Annie--nice to hear from you! You probably know this already, but there are three look-alike edible weeds including deadnettle. Here's a post about it w/ good photos: