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Asparagus, Nettle & Dill with Balsamic Glazed Onions on Sourdough

Asparagus, Nettle & Dill with Balsamic Glazed Onions on Sourdough


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 vidalia onion

to season kosher salt

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 cups nettle leaves, handled with care

1 lb asparagus

4 slices bread, white sourdough

1 bunch herb, dill

1/4 cup farmer’s cheese or fresh ricotta

to season flaky sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

to taste good-quality extra virgin olive oil

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  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided 
  • 2 Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt, to season 
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 cups nettle leaves, handled with care (see note below) 
  • 1 pound asparagus, woody ends snapped off 
  • 4 slices fresh sourdough, 1/2 inch thick 
  • 1 handful fresh dill, stems removed and roughly chopped 
  • 1/4 cup Farmer’s Cheese or fresh ricotta
  • Flaky sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to season 
  • Good-quality extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling


1. In a large skillet over medium, heat the oil until the surface shimmers, then add 2 tablespoons butter (the combination of these two fats will stop the butter from burning). 

2. When the butter begins to bubble, reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the onions. To get a rich caramelized flavour, keep the heat at medium-low for 15 to 20 minutes, giving the onions an occasional stir. 

3. Reduce heat to low and add a pinch of salt and the vinegar to deglaze the skillet. Continue to cook until the onions turn golden brown and are jammy and sticky like caramel, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. 

4. Fill a medium mixing bowl with water and a couple of ice cubes, and set aside. Heat a large pot of water and season with salt. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, use tongs or gloves to place the nettles into the water. Cook for 1 minute only before shocking them in the ice bath. Drain the nettles in a colander and set aside to dry.

5. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add as much asparagus as fits in the skillet without overcrowding (this will depend on the size of your asparagus) and cook, flipping every so often, until tender, about 7 minutes per side. Remove the asparagus from the heat and set aside. Repeat with the remaining asparagus. 

6. While the asparagus is cooking, toast the sourdough. 

7. Plate each dish with one piece of toast, then top with a handful of nettles, a quarter of the onions, and five or six asparagus spears.

8. Sprinkle each toast with dill and crumbled Farmer’s Cheese. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil before serving.


Note on handling nettles: Raw nettles can sting when handled, so be sure to wear gloves or use tongs when you cook with them. As soon as they are blanched, they lose their stinging qualities.