Chilled Nettle Soup with Gravlax and Pickled Fiddleheads

Jason Tostrup

Restaurant Verterra at the Inn at Weathersfield and Lucy’s Tavern at the Inn at Weathersfield, Perkinsville, VT

This healthful soup from Jason Tostrup uses stinging nettle leaves and green tea, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. When he served it at his Beard House dinner, he made his own cured wild salmon, but store-bought gravlax is a good substitute. The soup can be served warm or chilled.


Pickled Fiddleheads:

  • 2 cups fiddleheads
  • 1 cup brown rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1/2-inch piece ginger, crushed
  • 4 whole peppercorns

Nettle Soup:

  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1 cup yellow beet greens
  • 1 cup stinging nettle leaves
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced onions
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 3 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1 green tea bag
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Thinly sliced gravlax for garnish


To make the pickled fiddleheads, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the fiddleheads and cook for 3 minutes. Prepare an ice bath while the fiddleheads cook. When the fiddleheads are done, shock them in the ice bath. Strain and set aside.

In a medium pot, combine the brown rice vinegar, water, brown sugar, kosher salt, rosemary, ginger, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve.

Put the reserved fiddleheads in a glass jar or small container, then pour the cooked liquid into the jar, making sure the fiddleheads are completely submerged. Seal the jar or container and refrigerate overnight. (Can be made several days ahead.)

To make the soup, bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare a new ice bath. Boil the parsley and yellow beet greens for 1 minute, then shock in the ice bath. Boil the stinging nettle leaves for 5 minutes, then shock in the ice bath. Squeeze the greens dry and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic; sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the water and simmer until the onions are very tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the tea bag, and let it steep for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the tea bag from the pot and discard.

Add the reserved greens to the pot and cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Purée the contents of the pot in a blender until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill the soup for 2 hours.

To serve, remove the pickled fiddleheads from their liquid. Divide the chilled soup among the serving bowls. Garnish with a few slices of salmon and a few pickled fiddleheads.


4 servings