The young hogweed leaf stalks and nettle tips are at their peak at the moment with regards the freshest, youngest greens. Hogweed is a plant that I have a lot of respect for, it is one of the true gourmet wild edibles, and it is well worth spending the time learning how to identify hogweed.
WARNING: Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) is part of the Carrot family and as such you must be 500% certain that you have identified this plant correctly. You must also gather it with gloves on as the sap can burn you. This is completely destroyed by cooking. ! DO NOT EAT THIS PLANT RAW ! Definitely not a plant for novice foragers to start playing around with. Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), is highly poisonous, and even brushing against it can give some people very serious burns.
In this recipe the delicate flavours of hogweed leaf stalks combine well with young nettle tips providing a wonderful tapas style side dish. In this recipe I am not going to give you quantities. I teach foraging using your senses, and as such the next shift is to start cooking with your senses, rather than relying on linear-mind quantities. If you look at old fashioned recipe books, ingredients were listed but rarely the quantities.
So go on, try this recipe and let me know how the recipe turned out for you.
Robin Harford is a self-taught ethnobotanist, and has spent over a decade traveling, researching, recording and uncovering the traditional and contemporary use of wild plants in Britain and beyond. More recently his work has taken him to Africa, India, SE Asia and Europe. He is a co-director of Plants & Healers International, a non-profit that connects people, plants and healers around the world.